Ol Pejeta Embarks on Transition to Renewable Energy

Over the years, Ol Pejeta has led from the front when it comes to innovation in wildlife conservation. From launching the first online booking system for conservation tourism in Kenya to the world’s first virtual ultra-marathon, pioneering predator-proof bomas and utilising revolutionary fence designs to mitigate human-wildlife conflict, we constantly seek creative solutions for the challenges we face.

As a conservancy, we are endeavouring to transition to using only renewable energy by 2020, a process which is expected to cost 1.5 million dollars. This procedure began with the conversion of the formerly diesel powered Scott’s water pumping station to solar in 2016.

We started exploring the shift from diesel power to renewable energy on the conservancy back in 2014. The desire to use renewable energy is driven by our goal to become more environmentally sustainable in energy consumption and production. Although both wind and solar options were explored, solar was decided to be the most viable - due to our position on the equator and long hours of sunshine.

In 2016, Ol Pejeta began a partnership with Pure Leapfrog – a clean energy proponent - which resulted in a grant worth 30,000 pounds from the British Airways Carbon Fund for the conversion of the Scott’s water pump to solar. Work on the conversion started in mid-August 2016. The solar pump is powered by 63 panels, each producing 250 watts. After a month’s hard work fixing the solar panels, electrical works and fitting in the piping, the new solar powered water pumping station went live on 14th September 2016.

The Scott’s water tank provides water to the Ol Pejeta Headquarters, the Control staff camp, Kicheche Laikipia, Rift Valley Adventures, Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary and The Stables.

The new solar powered pumping system is estimated to save the company $7,000 per year in fuel and maintenance costs. The new system incorporates Internet of Things (IoT) and can be monitored and controlled remotely using a computer or a mobile device from anywhere in the world. This allows us to monitor water levels in the tank, power generated by the panels and water flow rates as well as to collect data on water consumption patterns (peak hours and off peak). The new solar powered pump can produce up to 18m3 of water per hour as compared to the previous diesel powered pump which provided 12m3, which will allow us to better cope with increased water demand in future. This also helps the conservancy reduce its carbon footprint, less pollution (noise and air) and potentially earn carbon credits in future with scale (more diesel generators converted to solar)

We are also in the process of converting the diesel generator at Nyumba Nne to solar and this is expected to be done by April 2018.