Published on August 21st, 2018 | by Jake Richardson0
$1.6M Awarded To Azuri Distributor In Zambia For Solar Home Lighting
August 21st, 2018 by Jake Richardson
Azuri Technologies’ official distribution partner in Zambia, Kazang Solar, has been awarded $1.6 million from the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund to provide solar home lighting to 7,000 mostly off-grid homes. Azuri answered some questions about the project for CleanTechnica.
1. Why was Kazang Solar selected for the funds?
The strength in reputation of Kazang and Azuri brands in Zambia. Azuri and Kazang have a solid track record when it comes to delivering quality products and excellent customer service. Kazang have over 6,000 outlets making it easy for customers to access products and services. Kazang also has a well-established payments business which is integrated with the Azuri PayGo ecosystem so customers can easily make payments. Because of the easy payment process, financial inclusion is an added benefit of installing an Azuri product. Customers are able to access other digital financial products through Kazang. Azuri has been operating in Africa since 2012 and is present in 12 African countries. Kazang similarly is a well-established and trusted brand in Zambia. Azuri has won numerous global and African industry awards for its lighting products. E.g. Edison Award “Sustainability/Solar Solution” and Africa Utility Award for “Innovation of the Year” — just two of a number.
2. What will the 7,000 off-grid customers in rural Zambia receive?
The funds will be used to deliver Azuri Quad home solar system to 7,000 homes. Azuri Quad solar home lighting system features Azuri’s award-winning HomeSmart™ technology with artificial intelligence that monitors weather conditions and learns customer usage patterns to adjust output to ensure a full night’s power. The Azuri Quad solar home lighting system includes a 10W solar panel, four bright LED lights, USB port and connectors for mobile phone charging, rechargeable radio and rechargeable torch.
3. Who are the customers? Are they mostly families?
Mostly families in off-grid communities.
4. Are the people who will receive the solar power help currently using kerosene for their indoor lighting?
In some areas yes, but kerosene lighting is not as commonly used in Zambia compared to similar off-grid markets. Most off-grid households in rural areas are using candles, expensive disposable dry-cell batteries, or sometimes used car batteries that are unsafe and unreliable.
5. Potentially how much money will they save switching to solar power?
We forecast about $500 saving per household over lifetime of the product. The Azuri Quad is priced to be significantly cheaper than existing household energy costs.
6. Are some of the people who receive the solar business owners?
Several hundred SMSs will benefit, such as shops, hairdressers, small restaurants etc. In addition to SMSs, all the sales agents are equipped with point-of-sale (PoS) machines provided by the distributor, allowing each sales agent to run their own micro-businesses.
7. Will some children be helped by the solar power because they will no longer be exposed to kerosene fumes and the risk of kerosene fires?
On average our research suggests, and similarly research from Gogla, that children are able to study 2 hrs more in an evening.
8. How long does it take to install one of the home solar systems?
Less than one hour. Delivery and installation is done by a trained Azuri agent.
9. How much does getting a new home solar system improve the customer’s quality of life?
A home solar system has health benefits as well as income benefits. A recent Gogla report found that 58% of households with off-grid solar systems undertake more work and enterprise. Over a third of respondents reported an average income increase of $35 a month. Providing electricity at home, solar has also unlocked more time for economic activities, with many customers (44%) reporting that they are using previously dark and unproductive hours to work. Furthermore over 90% of households replacing toxic non-renewable products, used by millions in the developing world, claim both improved health and feelings of safety. (https://www.gogla.org/news/solar-brings-economic-boost-to-east-african-households)