To catalyze the Kenyan tech community’s growth.


Software/Hardware engineer for SMS/cloud based energy company1

  • Company: Powerhive
  • Deadline: Friday 10th August 2012
  • Location: Throughout Kenya
Job Description

Job Title: Fieldwork Technician, Powerhive Kenya

Terms of Employment: Contract Position- initially 3 months with possible renewal.

Remuneration commensurate with qualifications and experience

Closing date for Application: Friday, August 10th 2012

Start Date: Thursday, Augst 16th

Overview: The Fieldwork Technician will support a variety of tasks related to the multi-client solar system (“microgrid”) project to be undertaken at three

separate sites in southwestern Kenya, in Nyanza and Transmara areas. PowerHive is a solar photovoltaic system small enough to be located in a structure

approximately the size of a village shop or kiosk, which serves nearby homes and businesses with electricity by wire. The electricity is paid for through a

mobile phone-based system using M-PESA. The Fieldwork Technician will directly support the PowerHive Project Manager to assist with three types of

activities: i) technical aspects of solar energy and communication systems, ii) monitoring and research related to household/business energy use; iii)

community facilitation and business development. A broad exposure to work in these areas is helpful; in-depth experience in the technical aspects is


Tasks: Working with the PowerHive Project Manager, the Fieldwork Technician will undertake a variety of support tasks including:

In the preliminary phase (before any systems are installed):

• orientation and training on function and technology of Powerhive platform

• sensitize local communities regarding general technical, cost and benefit, and conditions for installation of the system and household


• assist in planning and carrying out trainings of vendors & clients;

• perform translations (both spoken and written) among Kiswahili and English; assist in refinement of training materials in these languages;

During the initial, local technical “pilot” and implementation phases:

• assist with daily operation, maintenance, and monitoring (logging) of system performance, conducting maintenance and repairs as needed; gain

an in-depth understanding of the system and its various components

• manage and monitor electrical installation subcontractor to ensure quality of work

• report on the status/performance of the solar power system with respect to mobile phone network communication and provision of electricity to


• consultation with community members, leaders, clients, and others as needed;

• make periodic client visits and gauge user satisfaction with the system;

On an ongoing basis:

• assist in managing relations with local collaborators, vendors, and possibly local government officials;

• receive visitors and people interested in the system

• log into the back end of the system, verify data and settings and compare log to data in the cloud

• troubleshoot technical issues in the electrical or computer system; involving hardware and software diagnosis

• implement solutions to technical issues with support from engineering team, “hands on” repair person

• provide customer support

As this is a pilot, scaling up to full commercial operations over the next year, additional tasks may be assigned as needed.

Qualifications/ experience

• ESSENTIAL: Must be comfortable working command line (Unix/Linux) interface

• Master degree in Electrical or Software Engineering, Computer Science or equivalent experience

• Java, Python, C or other high level programming skills (writing code will not be required but familiarity is critical)

• Understanding of computer hardware (e.g. past experience building a computer from off the shelf components)

• General IT knowledge and hands on Experience in Solar energy systems installations and maintenance

• Good communication skills including written and spoken English and Kiswahili

• Practical knowledge of electricity, with specific focus on off-grid solar power and household wiring

• Experience conducting field work and collecting data using paper and/or Electronic forms

• Due to the start up nature of the work, the field assistant is required to be available 7 days a week and with immediate access to the test site. For

this end he/she has to relocate to appropriate location for site access and be willing to travel.

• Possession of a automobile or motor cycle riding permit/ license will be an added advantage

How to Apply: Digital copies Including a CV, Cover letter and skill related Testimonials. Address to:

How to apply

Digital copies Including a CV, Cover letter and skill related Testimonials. Address to: