Do you see that trend line in the chart above? Do you know what that means? Solar power is getting cheaper by the day, thanks to technological innovation and China’s solar panel export dumping. It also means that solar power can now be affordable for Africans.
Well “affordable” is always relative, and here we are talking about paying for solar power in installments, which can make even large capital expenditures affordable to many. A few intrepid entrepreneurs have taken up the challenge to finance solar power for poor people, often leveraging mobile phone networks for payment, and we should celebrate their initiative with a list of all that we know.
Here’s a start – please add more solar payment solutions in the comments section below:
- M-KOPA Solar in Kenya is Safaricom partnering with d.light to offer 3 bright bulbs and a mobile phone charging for daily installments of KES 40
- Simpa Networks in India offers 25-50 watts, enough to charge some CFLs, a mobile phone charger, a small fan or TV, via pay-as-you-go cards in Rs 50, 100, or 500 increments. After 2-3 years, when the system should be paid off entirely, it is unlocked and the customer has free electricity thereafter
- Econet Power in Zimbabwe provides its cell-phone customers with solar power as a customer benefit, charging them only $1 week to use a home solar system provided by Econet, with the bills tied to the customer’s cell phone account.
- IndiGo in Kenya offers light for two rooms and also power to charge a mobile for $1 a week via a scratch-card that reveals an unlock code typed into the system’s keypad
With these four as a start, let me know what other pay-as-you-go solar power systems are out there – let there be light on the solar revolution!