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Home Startups M-KOPA Solar Powers Up 100,000th Home in East Africa

M-KOPA Solar Powers Up 100,000th Home in East Africa

by Sam Wakoba
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mkopa-profileTwo weeks ago, M-KOPA Solar announced it had served 95,000 homes in East Africa. Today, the firm is announcing it has powered up 100,000 homes in Kenya and Uganda within two years of its commercial launch.

The 100,000th system was today installed by Charles Lwanga, in his home in Masuliita, Uganda. Charles’s village has no power and he has four children. His family spends over half of its daily income on kerosene lighting, charging phones and radio batteries, M-KOPA has become the savior of the day.

“I heard about M-KOPA Solar yesterday and decided to buy it today because it’s going to save me a lot of money, and because it’s affordable paying daily by mobile money,” Lwanga said.

According to Jesse Moore, Managing Director and Co-Founder, M-KOPA Solar, ‘’I am delighted that Charles Lwanga has made the transition to solar. We estimate that customers like Charles will save $750 over four years using an M-KOPA solar system. This means that our 100,000 customers will make combined savings of $75 million, which they can invest in children’s education, improving their farms, growing their businesses, and bettering their lives.’’

M-KOPA Solar has saved households over US$75 Million in combined savings for an estimated $750 per household. It has also given 12.5 Million hours of kerosene-free lighting per month or an average 125 hours of lighting per household per month. The firm has seen 3 million mobile payment transactions since launch.

M-KOPA Solar was founded by Jesse Moore, Chad Larson and Nick Hughes in Kenya in 2011. The team previously worked on M-PESA and microfinance throughout Africa, the team identified that the average off-grid household spent $200 per year on kerosene. The founders believed there had to be a better way to supply safe light and power and so developed the M-KOPA Solar solution to work over the M-PESA platform, offering off-grid customers better energy at lower cost.

M-KOPA Solar customers buy a solar home system on an affordable M-PESA payment plan, with an initial deposit of $35, followed by 365 daily payments of 45 cents. After completing the payment package, customers own the system outright. In partnership with Safaricom, M-KOPA Solar’s latest model the M-KOPA III is an 8W system with three lights (two wall- hanging and one portable), a phone charging port and a chargeable solar radio.

Headquartered in Nairobi, M-KOPA Solar employs over 400 in Kenya and Uganda plus over 750 field-based agents.

M-KOPA Solar makes high quality solar systems available to low-income customers on a risk-free basis. Customers can take home a system for a deposit of just US $35 and then continue to make 365 daily payments of 45 cents – less than the average daily spend on kerosene.  All payments are made conveniently via mobile money. The US$35 deposit is fully refundable at any time during the payment period, and products come standard with a 2-year warranty. After 365 daily payments are made, the device is unlocked with no further payments required.

M-KOPA is now selling 2,500 new systems each week across Kenya and Uganda. M-KOPA Solar sells products in both Kenya and Uganda via a local network of sales agents.  There are nearly 1000 agents today and M-KOPA plans to add another 1000 agents within the next year.

M-KOPA makes high quality solar affordable for everyone. By offering the mobile installment method of paying for solar energy, the company has pioneered a better way to supply safe power to millions of off-grid homes.

M-KOPA Solar sells solar home systems on an affordable mobile money payment plan, with an initial $35 deposit, followed by 365 payments of 45 cents. After completing the payment package, customers own a world-class solar home system, with multiple lights, phone charging and a radio.

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