“The market we’re interested in, you could call the ‘kadogo economy’, is those living off the grid, who are probably also unbanked,” said Jesse Moore, managing director at M-KOPA Solar.
“They spend a little bit of money every day and, in this case, spending that money [on] kerosene.”
Moore stated that the problem with kerosene is that it’s costly, it’s dirty, dangerous and it doesn’t provide very good lighting.
M-KOPA Solar has leveraged off the mobile payment system, M-Pesa to make it easier for consumers to access its solar energy system.
“In Kenya we collect all our revenues over M-Pesa. We’ve become a very big customer of M-Pesa, we generate over 10,000 transactions every day because we have close to 150,000 customers across the country paying that little bit of money through their phones,” said Moore.
The company, which launched three years ago, is currently active in three east African countries, namely Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
“Solar technologies are getting better all the time and they’re only [going] to get better as we move forward into the future. The question is how you make that affordable to the low income earner,” Moore added.
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He also said that although they have successfully reached over 100,000 people in a short space of time, the challenge is to reach a substantial portion of the seven million homes that don’t have access to the grid in Kenya.
Earlier this year, M-KOPA Solar won the Zayed Future Energy Prize of 1.5 million dollars for their work in energy.