Published on February 28th, 2013 | by James Ayre2
Pay-As-You-Go Solar Startup Bringing Cheap, Clean Lighting To Kenya
A new pay-as-you-go solar startup in Kenya is aiming to provide a cheap and pollution-free replacement for the ubiquitous kerosene lamps there. Currently, most rural residents in Kenya use kerosene lamps for lighting their homes, which is not only rather expensive, but also creates a great deal of indoor pollution. By offering a clean and affordable replacement for these lamps, the residents in these areas stand to benefit greatly.
“To help bring fume-free and affordable power to rural Kenya, M-KOPA Solar offers a small solar power system to residents for just a down payment and an ongoing pay-as-you-go agreement, which lets low-income earners get a system for their home or business. The system, from d.light solar, consists of a 4 W solar panel, 3 adjustable lights, a mobile phone charging station, and a base station that manages and displays the user’s credits.”
With the initial deposit being only about $30, and the daily rate hovering around $0.46, the system is within the grasp of many people in the country. The entire unit can also be paid off rather quickly, typically in less than a year. Since kerosene lamps cost, roughly, about $0.70 a day, the M-KOPA system is significantly cheaper. And because of the nature of the pay-as-you-go system, even those without steady employment can benefit, simply using it when they can afford to. And, once paid off, the system is completely free, potentially opening up funds for a level of personal entrepreneurship not typically available to the poorer people in Kenya.
This isn’t the only startup helping to bring solar-powered lighting to the developing world. This is actually a pretty hot cleantech sector these days. Its cost-effectiveness is one clear reason why.
Image Credits: M-KOPA