Photo by M-Kopa
Around 625 million people in Africa live without electricity. In Kenya alone, 40% of households are still cut off from the electricity grid. Many people use sooty kerosene lamps or gasoline generators, so that children can do their homework after dark or shops can stay open. This is not only expensive, but because of air pollution also harmful.
A solar panel enables households to save around 750 USD over a period of four years – and also reduces CO2-emissions. Some solar power suppliers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are working to make solar kits consisting of a solar panel, LED bulbs, a torch and connectors for e.g. a radio or a mobile phone charger more affordable.
M-Kopa (“M” from “Mobile” and the Swahili word “Kopa” for “lend”) is a provider that combines a financing option for poor households. This makes it possible to get a solar power connection even without having big savings. For a solar kit, an advance payment of approx. 35 US dollars is required. using the mobile banking app M-Pesa, each customer then pays a daily rate of a few cents per day for one year. M-Kopa has now delivered more than 300,000 solar kits. The digital solution allows M-Kopa to activate or deactivate each solar kit when customer start or stop payments.