A local ‘pay-as-you-go’ off grid energy provider has announced connecting 250,000 homes across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to a solar power system.
M-Kopa Solar which provides payment plan for supply of a solar lighting system, a radio and phone charging apparatus said the achievement was in line with its target to connect one million customers by 2018 to its solar power systems.
The firm’s Managing Director and Co-Founder Jesse Moore said the growth in connected customers was satisfactory as the region renewed focus on renewable energy.
“Last September we celebrated 100,000 customers, and a year later we are already at a quarter-million. With hundreds of great customers coming on board every day, we are helping East Africa leapfrog over the grid to enjoy cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable solar power,” Mr Moore said.
OFF-GRID SOLAR POWER
Kenya is emerging as a hotspot for off-grid solar power. A 2014 study by M-KOPA Solar and InterMedia shows that 14 per cent of the surveyed population use solar as their primary lighting and charging source.
M-KOPA is one of the fastest growing power providers in the region, connecting solar to over 500 new homes each day.
The battery-powered 8W home system has three lights, a phone-charging facility and a chargeable radio. The savings generated by using off grid solar over kerosene are said to be substantial for individual households and the broader East African economy.
Alex Nduati, an Athi river resident became the plan’s 250,000th customer when he purchased an M-KOPA III solar home system.
“I am so excited to take home a solar system that will give me much more value than kerosene, and with M-KOPA’s daily payment plan it is affordable for me. I purchased this system for my rural home where there is no access to electricity,” Mr Nduati said.
Each M-KOPA Solar home is calculated to save $750, compared to using kerosene over a four-year period.
This means that the combined projected savings by the 250,000 households using M-KOPA Solar is $187 Million.
The Nairobi-headquartered, M-KOPA Solar now has a network of over 1,500 direct sales agents and 100 customer service centres across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.