Less than 20 percent of Kenyan rural homes have access to electricity and are therefore forced to use fossil fuels such as kerosene for lighting. Further, Kenyans without electricity spend over 10 to 20 percent of their monthly income on kerosene.
However, SunnyMoney, a Solar lights seller and distributor aims to end this menace.
With operations in Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia, and recruiting more reseller agents across the region, the social enterprise, which previously relied on schools to distribute the lights has said it is targeting to sell over 1million solar lights in Kenya and other East African markets in the next one year in a bid to grow its business in the region and also fulfil its goal of eradicating the usage of kerosene for lighting in Africa by 2020. In Kenya, the company is targeting to sell over 270,000 lights within the period up from 140,000 which were sold last year.
An initiative of Solar Aid, a UK-based social enterprise that uses an innovative business model to sell and distribute lights in off-grid Africa to end dependency on costly, toxic kerosene, SunnyMoney was launched in 2008 and has sold close to one million lights, making it the biggest retailer of solar lamps in sub-Saharan Africa with a market share of 24 percent in Kenya.
Steve Andrews, SunnyMoney Chief Executive speaking at a media briefing in Nairobi said he would like to see solar technology follow in the footsteps of mobile phones, which have become ubiquitous in Africa over the past decade.
“SunnyMoney’s unique model of selling through schools is having a bigger impact on communities. We’ve seen dramatic increase in sales and to keep this momentum going, we are in the process of recruiting more resellers as we strive to grow our business and fulfil our goal of eradicating use of kerosene in Africa by 2020,” he said.
“Eighty-five percent of Africans don’t have electricity. It’s time to turn the lights on with energy from the sun, so 680 million people can lead better, healthier and brighter lives.”
According to SunnyMoney Global Marketing Director Cindy Kerr Andrews, households that give up the kerosene lamps they used previously can expect to make a saving of roughly Shs500 a month, which can be spent on food and other goods.
“Previously the money was leaving the community and going to global oil companies through kerosene sales but with the Solar lighting the savings made now it is going to local businesses. It motivates us to sell thousands more because a technology is so affordable and easy and makes such a big difference in brightening people’s lives.”,” she said.
The firm has also launched a Ksh900 study light that emits at least four hours of bright light each night increasing kids study time and reducing parents Kerosene costs.