Mt. Elgon Orchards Project

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Background Information

Mount Elgon Orchards (MEO) has four independent power sections;

  1. Main Farm
  2. Top farm
  3. River pump and
  4. The clinic

Main Farm

This is the core of the farm, it has always been on diesel generated power since inception of the farm over 75 years ago. It houses the flower processing area, the main offices, senior staff quarters and main pump houses. Grid supply was available but it was not connected to the farms existing MDB panel because the panel did not have sufficient provisions. The farm utilized its four (4) generators (two 365 kVA generators for day operations and two 220 kVA generators for night operations).

Objective 1: Design and install a main distribution board panel that has provision for; KPLC connection, automatic changing from grid to diesel generator and connections to existing loads.

Objective 2: Install a 400 kVA automatic voltage regulator to stabilize the connected grid power and reserve the generators for power outages only. 

Objective 3: Install a 630A (external) automatic change over switch to select between the four generators on night and day schedules configured in the control circuit.

toolsTop Farm

In terms of power consumption this section of the farm comes second after main farm, it is supplied with a 300 kVA diesel generator and connected to national grid through a KPLC meter and a 400A manual changer over switch. Because of major power flickering and fluctuation in the supplied grid power in SUAM, grid power is only used at night essentially for lighting.  Key processes that are power intensive are carried out during the day and are energized by the 300 kVA installed generator.

Objective: Stabilize grid power, use it for both day and night operations and reserve the generator specifically for power outages.

River Pump

Our Director, Mark Washer, happy to see results of NegaWatt’s hard work

The main load here are water pumps, two (2) 37.5 kW motors. Grid power is available and terminated in the MDB of this farm. Alternative power is also supplied by the 150 kVA diesel generator through the 400A manual change over switch. Because of the critical nature of water in the flower growing business, a standalone diesel engine pump is also installed in this location in case of any major electrical breakdown.

Objective: Stabilize grid power, ensure water pumping is entirely dependent on grid power and reserve the generator specifically for power outages.

The Clinic

Grid power was in use at the clinic because majority of their loads are single phase. Power flicking was still a normal observation however the availability of single phase voltage guards “i.e. plug and play safety measure” was really utilized here. The clinic is also supplied with a 45 kVA installed diesel generator through the manual change over switch. During power outages or when critical equipment are needed, power is supplied by the generator and not grid power.

Objective: To stabilize the grid power and allow for its utilization at all times.

For top farm and River pump diesel generated power was used because major loads were three phase loads with high current demand and so small


*Monthly preventive maintenance schedule should be initiated for all equipment installed*


The entire farm is on stabilized grid power, NegaWatt has met all of the objectives.

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Thanks to an Energy Audit subsidized by the Kenyan Association of Manufacturers (KAM), this project was made possible.
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To replace the old main distribution board with a new compact main distribution board so as to allow for automatic switching (between grid power and Diesel Generator), create space for installation of a voltage optimizer and other future upgrades.

The Actual Project

The building was served with an old British standard distribution board build using a 1.5mm2 heavy gauge metal sheet. It had the dimensions of 3.5M × 1.2M × 2.5M (Length × Width × Height) but had only two (2) functional circuit breakers;

  • The KPLC 1250A main incomer
  • The 32A basement light circuit breaker

The 1250A main incomer breaker had three primary pre-terminated loads i.e. terminated on the input of the breaker not output;

  • The buildings main load, through the 1250A breaker
  • Safaricom 3Ø tapings through the KPLC cut out fuses to Safaricom 3Ø meter
  • Airtel 1Ø taping through KPLC’s cut out fuse to Airtel’s 1Ø meter

From the 1250A breaker, power was terminated to a completely “stand alone” MDB. This MDB had a 1000A MCCB as the main isolator that also acted as the main feed to the 630A, 3Ø, external automatic change over where the 500kVA CAT generator was also connected.

Our design and installation was done to get rid of all this redundancies, i.e. Install a new panel of smaller size 2.2M × 0.6M × 1.8M (Length× Width ×Height) than the existing panel with an inbuilt 630A, 3Ø, automatic change over to provide extra space for installation of a voltage optimizer and other equipment if need be in the future.

Slideshow of process

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  • Regular (monthly) maintenance of the panel i.e. dusting with a vacuum blower probably and checking the tightness if the power cables
  • Yearly comprehensive tests on effective earthing, insulation strength, PFC capacitor banks and automatic switching of the change overs.
  • Weekly general inspection of the switch room (visual), to see if ALL electrical installations are working okay or not and carrying out in house cleaning of the switch room.

Committing to Energy Conservation


In today’s world, putting time aside to think about conserving energy is talked about more times than many, but are you actually acting on it? Here are some easy ways that your facility can achieve Energy Conservation..

Have Your Facility Make a Public Commitment to Conserve Energy

When institutional leaders make a public commitment, they are more likely to change behavior.  Publicize your commitment towards energy conservation in things like your newsletters, mailing lists, blogs, advertising etc.

Choose an Energy Manager

Without making energy an individual’s job, conservation slips through the cracks.  Assign a person within your business, particularly someone well versed in energy conservation (such as a person on the buildings and grounds committee), to monitor energy usage and enforce new habits.  The person should:

  • Establish a baseline of current energy use
  • Monitor monthly use in relation to the baseline
  • Oversee energy education of leaders
  • Oversee conservation measures
  • Make periodic reports to the business leaders to make conservation a habit

Establish a Baseline and a Target for your Energy Use

Without a baseline, you won’t know if you’ve saved energy.  You also can’t set goals until you know where your energy usage stands currently.  Here are some tips for establishing a baseline and targets:

  • Gather your past years’ energy bills.
  • Enter the monthly energy usage figures (not cost) into an excel spreadsheet.
  • In separate columns in the same spreadsheet, or in a different spreadsheet, enter cost figures, accounting for any utility increases that may skew potential savings.
  • Set goals for your quarterly and annual energy use.
  • Aim for a 10% reduction in relation to the baseline during your first year.

downloadIdentify Energy Conservation Measures

Through Energy Audits, operational and technological measures to reduce energy usage are identified and recorded from the easiest to implement at little or no cost to the tougher and capital intensive measures; Detailed analysis showing estimated savings and return on investment periods is done. Simply turning off the lights when no one is in the room and closing windows when the AC is on can easily achieve you a large and measurable number of energy savings.

Evaluate Results, Publicize, take Next Steps

Publicity and celebration are key ingredients for a successful energy conservation campaign.  It’s important to educate and publicize the wide variety of issues that pertain to energy conservation, including the links between energy, the environment, and financial responsibility.  Here are some tips:

  • Have your Energy Manager monitor financial and environmental impact.
  • Report results – financial and environmental.
  • Publicize your success; praise your leaders! Write a news release for your newsletter and local paper stating that facility is fighting global warming through energy conservation.
  • Involve members in a fun way, such as a contest to have them guess the energy and/or cost savings for a prize.
For more information on Energy Conservation, please contact us.

Energy Compliance in Kenya

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Though sometimes, we all don’t want to obey some rules and regulations, they are there for a reason. Today i’m talking about Kenya’s Energy Compliance Regulations. How can government regulations on energy be beneficial for me you may ask yourself? Let me explain a few reasons why The Energy Act plays as a benefit for many.

What is the ERC?

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is established under the Energy Act, 2006. Following of the Energy Act, 2006, with effect from July 7 2007, the Electricity Regulatory Board (ERB) became Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) with the following objectives and Functions:

  • Regulate the electrical energy
  • Regulate petroleum and related products
  • Regulate Renewable Energy and other forms of energy

What is the Energy Act?

The original Energy Act of 2006 is a long and lengthy document that all citizens, companies, and businesses have to follow on how to manage their energy. It is a set of rules and guidelines that the Government has put into place for the whole Energy sector in Kenya. The part of this Act we here at NegaWatt focus mostly on is the Energy Management side of things.

Why Energy Management?erc-cycle

The Energy Management Act of Kenya states that any business or building that consumes more than 180,000 units of energy per year, has to do an Energy Audit by a licensed ERC auditing firm. You’re in luck! We are one of the few companies here in Kenya fully licenced to do this. 

What do I gain?

By completing an Energy Audit with NegaWatt, we not only take care of all the compliance issues, but also lend the knowledge and expertise of nearly a dozen professional engineers to help find the absolute best solutions and feasible ways to save you up to 30% on your energy bills. From this small investment of an initial energy audit, we will also assist you in setting up an Energy Management Policy for your business and elect an Energy Officer to take over the responsibility for the development and implementation of energy efficiency and conservation measures. 

Why NegaWatt?1ab2d8a1553d219051adb3ad29cae269_-checkboxs-checkmark-wpf-box-with-check-mark-clipart_825-633

By choosing NegaWatt Ltd to conduct an Energy Audit, you can feel at ease knowing we have served over 200 clients and maintained a high level of professionalism throughout the compliance journey. What sets NegaWatt aside from other auditing firms is any of the Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) we recommend in our final audit report to you, we also have the ability to implement the measures themselves. Whether it be something small like high efficiency motors or a lighting retrofit, to larger measures like Building Automation Systems, Solar PV, and AVR’s (Voltage Stabilization), we here at NegaWatt are confident we can deliver above and beyond for you. 

For more information please contact us or leave a comment below..