Mobisol lighting up East Africa one country at a time

by Tendai Dube 0

"There is lots of creativity, but if you do not have electricity...."

German solar energy firm, Mobisol will now be expanding further into East Africa as it enters Kenya to offer another solution to issues around access to energy.

This is the sixth year the company has been around and in that time it has installed over 30,000 solar home systems in households in Tanzania and Rwanda.

According to the company website, clients are able to use their mobile phones to pay off the monthly instalments and after three years, they would fully own their personal electricity source.

“We believe size matters, we have been looking at a system which can be as good as the grid so that people have the full comfort of a modern lifestyle,” said Thomas Gottschalk, CEO at Mobisol Group.

Mobisol systems are available in different sizes and have multiple payment plans from monthly to daily usage.

“Our entry cost is 40 dollars, if you are applying for a grid connection – I think its 150 dollars at that moment for Kenya but that comes with a 19 inch TV from Mobisol, you pay on a monthly rate or on a daily rate – we try to go into the habits of the Kenyan consumer,” Gottschalk said.

The payment model appears lax and timeous but Gottschalk states that the company does a thorough credit check and are “pretty harsh” with it.

“The default rate is much lower than we expected, we have a default rate, on a group level, of below 4 per cent – about 3.6 per cent which is exceptional, we expected 10 per cent plus,” Gottschalk said.

The company encourages small business creation in the areas they enter, businesses that could be run out of the home for instance.

“We see that one-third of our customers became entrepreneurs, most Africans are entrepreneurs but they are just using electricity for another business – most of our customers have three or four business already.”

He adds: “So there is lots of creativity, but if you do not have electricity, you can have lot of creativity but you don’t have the enabler – we give you the enabler and then you will be smart enough to understand how you can earn the dollars.”