M-kopa solar using Safariom’s MPesa to enhance life in rural Kenya


M-Kopa Solar, a social-enterprise startup that uses solar energy for consumers in rural Kenya has become popular with its pay-as-you-go add-on electronic products.

It’s home solar system feature a battery, light bulb, phone charging facility and a chargeable radio only cost an initial down payment of $34 followed by a $0.50 daily usage payment over 12 months.

Using Safariom’s MPesa Service, M-kopa solar users can make daily payments at no extra charges.

M-KOPA managing director, Jesse Moore, told CCTV Africa. “Mpesa makes this work on one end by giving us a chance to collect money over mobile money network, but on the other side what we have is an embedded GSM technology in every sold unit. Every home that we provide with our solar power ends up with a Safaricom sim card inside that solar system that allows us to switch on that system when people pay, it also allows us to monitor the system for performance.”

With over 2,000 full-time staff and sales agents in East Africa, M-Kopa’s is now in than 20,000 homes and they are working towards reaching up to one million homes in East Africa by 2017.

Last year, the company started selling add-on products to its existing customers. It has sold over 40,000 of these add-on products over the last six months, including energy-saving cooking stove. M-Kopa is also currently selling over 1,000 smartphones per month.

Over 80 percent of households in sub-Saharan Africa are still not connected to the national electric grid this in turn has attracted companies, both local and foreign, with initiatives such as ‘Power Africa’ by President Obama and ‘Lighting Africa’ by Senegalese-American R&B music singer and songwriter Akon, jumping on to the bandwagon.

The world’s largest developer and owner of utility-scale solar projects SkyPower signed a landmark US $2.2 billion agreement with the Government of Kenya during the 6th annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit to develop 1 GW of solar projects. SkyPower also announced the gifting of two million SkyPower Home solar kits to people of Kenya.

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