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Safe and warm water

Household Water Treatment and Energy Savings SOLVATTEN速 Solar Safe Water System is an innovative and environmentally- friendly technology for households in the developing world. By combining several well-documented methods of water treatment this product provides 11-44 litres of safe drinking water per day, as well as warm water for hygiene and other domestic purposes. The technology uses only solar energy, requires no supplies or spare parts and has a long life span (more than 7 years). SOLVATTEN produces safe drinking water according to WHO guidelines for safe drinking water through filtration, pasteurization and UV sterilization. The synergetic effect of heat and solar energy kills bacteria and inactivates pathogens in a few hours.

-50% fuel costs

The technology has been used by residents of Kibera in Nairobi since 2010. The initiative has been implemented in a two year project to respond to the impacts of climate change and evaluate how the new device transforms the daily lives of the residents in the area. Results show that residents have now halved their expenditure on fuel and acquired safe and warm water.

Access to safe water for 13,000 residents Kibera is the largest urban slum in Africa and, as in other slums, the water supply is unsatisfactory. Floods and drought have become frequent and such climatic events are damaging the water and sanitation infrastructure, contaminating the water supply, and increasing water scarcity. This situation facilitates the transmission of water-borne diseases, such as cholera and other diarrhoeal and gastrointestinal diseases. Solvatten AB, RINCOD and IEW (the Institute of Environment and Water) have together distributed the Solvatten® technology to 2 500 households and thereby securing access to safe and warm water for 13,000 beneficiaries. The targeted households have been vulnerable families e.g. those headed by single women who has received training for the use of the technology and for hygiene and sanitation matters. The initaitve has beenn funded by the Nordic Development Fund’s (NDF).

Replacing charcoal with solar

Charcoal is a major cooking fuel in the area and 66% of the surveyed households use boiling as a method of treating water. But the increasing scarcity of wood and stricter government regulations have caused the price of charcoal to soar. The price of charcoal nearly doubled in the past years, and now a typical family can spend a shocking 30-50% of its income on cooking fuel alone. From the start of the project Solvatten has proved to be a appreciated tool for the residents of Kibera since considerable savings can be made at a house hold level. The technology functions as a substitute for charcoal and kerosene, which are traditionally used for heating and purifying water. Use of Solvatten results in reduced deforestation, reduced burning of fossil fuels, and consequently reduced emissions, as well as reduced fuel expenses for the households.

Making business of sunshine

The initiative had a strong socio-economic component and provided the beneficiaries with the opportunity to gernerate income through selling subsidised SOLVATTEN. All the beneficiaries have contributed towards the costs, and the sellers of the technology receive a commission for each sale. In its final phase the project also involved a a rural organization, RINCOD to expand the distribution network. By improving well-being and income opportunities for the rural poor, migration from the countryside to the urban slums may be avoided. Read more about RINCOD and their activities at

About the Nordic Development Fund

The objective of the Nordic Development Fund’s (NDF) operations is to facilitate climate change investments in low-income countries. NDF finances in cooperation with bilateral and multilateral development institutions. NDF’s operations mirror the Nordic countries’ priorities in the areas of climate change and development. The operations are financed from the development cooperation budgets of the five Nordic countries.

Impact It is evident that people who were previously treating/heating water in other ways, are willing to buy Solvatten. They already see the need to treat their water as opposed to those who were not treating water before. 63% of the users surveyed consider Solvatten to be very good while the remainder think it is good. This can be attributed to the various benefits that they have experienced including; t

Solvatten saves time, time which can be spent on business generating activities.


Solvatten saves money, including medical and fuel expenses. 95% of the respondents said that Solvatten saves money. Kshs 956 per month is the average amount of money saved by each household as a result from using Solvatten. A household can therefore recover the cost of buying Solvatten (at subsidized price of Kshs 1000) in just five weeks.


Increased health. All respondents (100%) reported that they are healthier, are using less medicine and are performing better at work and school.

66% of respondents reported that absenteeism from school and work has reduced as a result of using Solvatten. It is evident that Solvatten is not only improving health, improving peoples lives, reducing energy costs and carbon emissions but also making a direct or indirect contribution to the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals. The treated and already warm water from Solvatten makes large fuel savings possible. The warm and treated water is used for many purposes like drinking, preheated water for cooking, washing dishes, hygiene and bathing. Calculations from this survey show a reduction of charcoal consumption of approximately 50% which gives CO2 emission reductions of 3 966 tCO2e per year for the project (of 2 592 families) or 1,53 tCO2e per household per year, as a result of introducing the Solvatten technology. Additional consumption of fuel as kerosene, firewood, gas + some usage of electricity is not included in this calculation. Calculating the impact of the initiative considering the reduction of the beneficiaries charcoal consumption, the findings are remarkable. The total scope of 2 500 families can now save charcoal at the equivalent of 35 trees during the estimated life time of the device. This adds up to 740 acres of productive forest that, in the interest of both the urban and rural population should remain.

Find out more about the initiative on

User acceptance and viability for upscale There is a very high level of acceptance for Solvatten amongst the users, probably due to the many benefits and the user friendliness of the technology. It gives social status, and a feel of empowerment to the users. 100% of all survey respondents would recommend Solvatten to someone else. This is despite the weather during the project being unusually cold and rainy, which can be challenge since use of the technology is weather dependent. However all users seem to gain greatly from the usage of Solvatten. Observations from this project have been that marketing, sales methods and structure play an important role . These have to be designed appropriately too if distribution is to be scaled-up. Many people live in Kibera slum to earn money to send home or to find work in the city. Their families often remain in the countryside. This has been reflected in the use of Solvatten, with many people taking their unit to their relatives “up country”. The best marketing tool is a happy user that tells its neighbour. This effect is lost when Solvatten units are taken to other places. We can see that even with the tough conditions in Kibera slum users see great benefits and the viability for scale up is good. Although it is recommended that efforts to scale up of the use of the technology to be put on the countryside rather than the slum due to the high risks and complexity involved in implementation.

The carbon savings makes Solvatten available for all Use of Solvatten generates reductions of up to two tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per household per year, depending on how much water is used and how it was treated previously. Two tonnes corresponds roughly to the emissions from driving an average car for a whole year. Since use of Solvattenreduces carbon emissions, the purchase, distribution and use of the units can be funded through “carbon finance”. Solvatten is also used in Uganda where the impact has been closely monitored by Eco Trust, an environmental conservation organization. Along with MyClimate, an international non-profit carbon project developer, Ecotrust, Solvatten AB and U&We (Sweden) can now offer voluntary carbon offsets in Uganda. To find out more about how to reduce greenhouse gases and deforestation with practical action, please visit

To find out more about how to reduce greenhousegases and deforestation with practical action, please visit

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NORDIC DEVELOPMENT FUND | P.O. Box 185 | FIN-00171 Helsinki | Finland | Tel: +358 10 618 002 | E-mail: Solvatten AB | Roslagsgatan 56 | S-11354 Stockholm| Sweden | Tel: +468 777 29 05 | E-mail:


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