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Humber Launches a New Solar Program in Kenya


       Sigalaga National Polytechnic Trainers holding the “certificate of completion” from Strathmore University on Solar T3 training 

April 22, 2021

Humber College continues to leverage its expertise in teaching and learning around the world by providing opportunities for post-secondary partners worldwide. We recently celebrated the development of another groundbreaking initiative: The launch a new solar power program at the Sigalagala National Polytechnic (SNP) in Kakamega, Kenya in partnership with Strathmore University. 

The initiative is part of the five-year Kenya Education for Employment Program (KEFEP) geared towards strengthening and supporting technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Kenya. The project is also in partnership with Global Affairs Canada through Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan).


Faculty members trained to operate solar photovoltaic systems

Humber was the lead Canadian institution of this KEFEP-02 Institutional partnership that included the SNP and other partner institutions. We contributed by training four SNP faculty members and one lab technician in the implementation of a Solar Power program level 5 curriculum.  We also sourced and oversaw the purchase and installation of leading-edge equipment that would be used for training.

The trainees were equipped with the knowledge and skills to operate newly acquired and installed equipment for the following functions:

  • Survey Solar PV System Installation Site
  • Install Hybrid Solar PV Systems
  • Design Hybrid Solar PV Systems
  • Maintain Grid-Tied and Hybrid Solar PV Systems
  • Install Grid-Tied Solar PV Systems

This was achieved through skills training and collaboration with industry players and technical support from Canadian colleges’ subject matter experts.  The experts shared new teaching techniques and worked jointly with SNP partners on curriculum development, lesson plans and assessment tools that centered around work-integrated learning. Student success initiatives were also developed.  Much of the work was done during February 2021.

The initial plan was for Canadian subject matter experts and each polytechnic’s faculty to build technical capacity on troubleshooting, maintenance and the educational use of the aforementioned equipment. However, due to travel restrictions and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Humber partnered with local Kenyan institutions for technical hands-on training both in-person and online.

Among the capacity-building and training activities included:

  • Installations of solar photovoltaic grid tied hybrid system
  • Maintenance of solar photovoltaic Grid-tied Hybrid Solar PV systems
  • Design for grid-tide solar PV systems both manual and using a software for design
  • Installations and commissioning of grid tide and hybrid systems
  • Testing of solar PV system components as per their functionality
  • Identify maintenance activities as per the type of maintenance to be carried out.
  • Inspect and test to find Grid-tied Hybrid Solar PV systems faults
  • Using and interpreting Data logins
  • Identify main isolation points as per photovoltaic system configuration
  • Solar installation site grid connection to solar PV connection
  • Site surveys
  • Case studies
  • Hands-on labs

Trainees had a total of 10 days of training, six hours a day.  50% of the training provided was practical and 50% was theoretical. Successful participants received a certificate of training a week upon completion of the program.


Providing in-demand skills for Kenyan students

As a result of this initiative, SNP students will now be able to learn greater in-demand skills from their trained faculty to find employment, create their own employment or continue their education further. Overall, the KEFEP program aims to produce 1,200 male and female graduates from TVET courses in the energy and agribusiness sectors.

By increasing opportunities for academic schools to leverage expertise globally through international development projects, Humber’s contributions also align with its Internationalization Strategy.

“I would like to express our sincere gratitude to all the technical teams at Humber and Strathmore University for the outstanding capacity development provided to SNP's teachers and technicians,” said Jorge Montoya, International Development Projects Coordinator at Humber. “Based on SNP’s trainers and technician feedback, we delivered an exceptional program amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic. “I always believe that when there is a will, there is a way, and it does not matter what challenges we face. As humans, we work together to find innovative solutions to solve challenging issues.”


 Sigalaga National Polytechnic Trainers being trained by Humber's partner Strathmore University on newly acquired equipment for the Solar PV power Level 5