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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

Copyright M-KOPA Solar
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Project overview

  • Region: Africa

  • Project type: Household devices

  • Standards: Gold Standard

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. As of September 2019, the project has connected over 750,000 homes to affordable solar power with 500 new homes being added everyday.

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 to the project 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.

750,000 homes have been connected to affordable solar power by the project as of January 2019

Every day over 500 homes are being connected to affordable solar power by the project as of January 2019

Sadiki Athumani’s Story

Sadiki Athumani, one of the 600,000 M-KOPA customers from Tanzania, said “At the touch of dusk I can continue assisting my younger brother with his homework thanks to the M-KOPA light. I have noticed an improvement in his studies especially in Mathematics.”