Clean cooking solutions are vital to combating global climate change, reducing environmental degradation and improving human lives in general. Unfortunately, more than four billion people especially in the rural areas currently lack access to modern cooking solutions that are clean, affordable, fuel-efficient and convenient.
With their main production factory based in Kakamega county, Powerspot Kenya is keen on providing a clean and affordable solution for households in rural Kenya through their modern cooking stove-Powerspot Pelletizers. Powerspot Pelletizers is a modern cooking stove that is powered by a thermal electric generator and pellets made from bagasse.
“Initially, Powerspot Kenya was dealing with an electric generator which is powered by different temperature levels and the main idea was to use it to power cooking stoves. However, we realized that most cooking stoves work best with charcoal or firewood but we wanted to get rid of that and provide a cleaner solution hence the birth of our Powerspot pelletizers,” said Alfonso Acebal, Regional director Powerspot Kenya.
Once we developed the cooking stove, we realized that there are no sustainable pellets in Kenya since most of them are made from sawdust. It pushed us to create our own from bagasse, he adds.
The cooking stove can also be used to power bulbs and charge phones. Based on their main target audience, the enterprise sells the products at half the price of the production cost so that their clients can afford them.
Aside from improving people’s health and promoting a healthy environment, Powerspot Kenya also has a positive impact on the economy. They have created employment opportunities for women as their sales agents. “Through the sales, the agents can earn a commission of Ksh 2 per 1kg of pellets sold. The pellets retail for Ksh 25 which is affordable compared to charcoal,” says Alfonso.
They are a fairly young startup given that they started selling their products in March 2020. Previous years were dedicated to the factory construction.
Due to the high demand of the cooking stoves and pellets, they plan on adding two more factories to increase production and cater to the demand. They plan on adding another factory in Kakamega and one Homabay county.
“As we are planning on our expansion; we are seeking more donors and partners to come on board and assist us to promote clean cooking in rural areas in Kenya,” he says.
In addition, he believes that support from the government and the private sector in terms of funding would also be beneficial for the clean cooking space in Kenya.
As is the case with other sectors, the pandemic has slowed their efforts. They had to put a hold on their training sessions on how to use their product.
“Given that our product is still new in the market, we must have demonstrations and training sessions to educate our vendors and customers on using it,” says Alfonso.
He adds that as much as shifting to online training sessions would be a suitable option, it is impossible since most of their clients lack access to the internet and power while some are not tech-savvy.
Another main challenge that they are currently facing in clean cooking space is the high tax rules which make it hard for SMEs like Powerspot Kenya to thrive in the market and also promote clean cooking.