Connecting people - Kalenge village waits for electrification

Written by Anneli Sundin

Thursday, 26 October 2017 08:27

solar mini grid installation in Kalenge village rural TanzaniaA solar mini-grid is being installed by the company PowerGen in the centre of Kalenge village. Photo: Cassilde Muhoza

A solar mini-grid is about to get installed in Kalenge village in rural Tanzania. How will this change life in the village? Read and follow the stories of the villagers through this photo story. 

Explore the photo story "Connecting people: Kalenge village waits for electrification"

Kalenge village lies in the far northwest of Tanzania, close to the borders with Burundi and Rwanda, and to Lake Victoria. The village is made up of 2,700 homes, housing about 5,200 people. Huddled around a main road linking Kalenge to nearby towns lies its main commercial centre, a vaguely planned mix of households and businesses. The rest of the village’s households are scattered over a landscape covered by crop fields, trees, shrubs and houses.

Like many villages in Tanzania, crop farming is the backbone of Kalenge’s economy, complemented by small ancillary businesses and livestock rearing. And also like many villages in Tanzania – where only around 17% of rural people have electricity access, Kalenge is unelectrified; its households have no connections to a central or local power grid.

But this is about to change, at least for some of Kalenge’s residents. A private company called PowerGen has received financial assistance from the Government’s Rural Energy Fund to install a small-scale (6kW) solar mini-grid with generator backup, as part of national efforts to achieve the goal of connecting 75% of the Tanzanian population by 2033. PowerGen will provide electricity services such as lighting, charging, entertainment, refrigeration and cooking to about 99 homes and 34 businesses in an area of just over a square kilometre in central Kalenge. Users will be able to pay their monthly bills, based on consumption, using their mobile phones.

How will this change life in Kalenge? SEI researchers recently visited Kalenge to talk to villagers about their thoughts, needs and expectations of electrification.

Learn more about about SEI's research on renewable energy mini-grids in Southern Africa»