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Solar Energy and Mobile Payment, East Africa

Solar lighting systems for households in Kenya and Uganda not connected to the grid

Project Type: Health and livelihoods, Household solar

Standards: Gold Standard

Copyright M-KOPA Solar

The use of the solar lighting systems enables households to switch from high-cost kerosene to affordable, safe, off-grid renewable solar power therefore reducing fossil fuel-based domestic energy needs. The system comes with three LED solar lights, one of which can also be used as a torch, and a solar panel with a smart-charge-control lithium-ion battery. In addition, households may also be provided with a solar rechargeable radio and a mobile phone charging cable. Some of the world’s most advanced mobile-based payment technology is built into the solar lighting systems, effectively providing microfinance, particularly to low income users.

Since the project launched in 2010, they have connected over 750,000 homes to affordable solar power

Sustainable Development Goals

In addition to delivering emissions reductions to help take urgent action to combat climate change (SDG 13), we expect the project to deliver a number of other benefits. The contributions towards the SDGs have been indicatively measured but need to be confirmed by the project developers:

  • Good Health and Well-being: Indoor air pollution is reduced, providing significant health benefits for the households members who are most frequently exposed.
  • Affordable and Clean Energy: Customers have 75 million hours of kerosene-free lighting per month. The current customers will make projected savings of US$ 450M over the next four years.
  • No Poverty: Around 70% of African households earn less than US$ 5,000 a year and currently have to spend money on inefficient and expensive energy sources such as kerosene. Subscribers choose a payment plan that suits them, starting at US$ 50c per day and accessible for any home, to pay from any place with a mobile signal.

Sadiki Athumani's Story

Sadiki Athumani, a customer from Tanzania, said “At the touch of dusk I can continue assisting my younger brother with his homework thanks to the solar light. I have noticed an improvement in his studies especially in Mathematics.”

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