Safaricom Limited has partnered with M-KOPA, a mobile technology company based in Nairobi, to launch a GSM enabled pay-as-you-go solar solution. Using embedded Safaricom sim cards, M-KOPA Solar allows a customer to enjoy the use of a d.light solar home system, while paying daily instalments of KES 40 via M-Pesa for a period of one year. An initial deposit of KES 2,500 applies, following which customers pay for usage at their convenience.
The D.light Solar Home System is a high quality product which combines 3 bright bulbs and a mobile phone charging to meet the needs of the average Kenyan family. This credit sale model is targeted at low income households in rural areas, currently depending on kerosene for lighting, and also targets local mobile bureaus for phone charging.
According to a press release from Safaricom, an estimated 3 million Kenyan homes or 80% of the population living off the power grid spend an average of KES 70 daily on kerosene and phone charging.
According to Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore, “The barrier to large-scale adoption of solar lighting has been the high upfront cost of a home system which makes it unaffordable to the majority of Kenyans. Indeed the penetration of solar lighting products in Africa as a whole remains at less than 2%. M-KOPA Solar has been developed to remove this barrier by making solar home systems affordable and accessible to low income consumers.”
M-KOPA chairman, Nick Hughes added that, “As with M-Pesa, M-KOPA has been designed specifically to suit the needs and budgets of Kenyan consumers. By working with Safaricom, a world leader for mobile innovation, we can spread this new service to all parts of Kenya.
M-KOPA solar is currently available in 75 shops in Eldoret and Kitale with plans underway to scale nationwide. Over the next quarter 250 dealers in the North Rift, Nyanza and Western parts of the country will be signed up with a planned roll out for the rest of Rift Valley, Central, Eastern and the Coast planned for next year.