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Could a Solar Giveaway in Kenya Destroy the Country’s Burgeoning Off-Grid Solar Market?

Kerry Adler speaks with the passion of an activist and the bluntness of a CEO.

His mission: to light the world with cheap solar as quickly as possible. And he'll do it any way he can -- including giving away millions of free solar systems.

"We want to bring solar to the people who need it most," said Adler. "That's our mission."

But Adler's mission may be more quixotic than visionary, say detractors. Worse, they argue, it may be damaging to the burgeoning off-grid solar market.

Professionals in the off-grid community grew concerned last July when Adler's company, Toronto-based SkyPower, announced a plan to hand out 2 million free solar lighting and charging kits to Kenyan schools, hospitals and households without access to the grid. The giveaway was part of a bigger deal that SkyPower signed with the Kenyan government to develop $2.2 billion worth of grid-connected solar projects in the country.

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