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Lighting up Kenya: M-KOPA Solar hits 60 000 users countrywide

Established in 2011 to end the dependency on kerosene lamps and fuel in Kenya, M-KOPA Solar, an innovative asset financing company that sells solar home systems to off grid households, on an affordable 12-month mobile money payment plan via Safaricom’s M-Pesa, has announced that it has hit over 60 000 users countrywide.

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The firm said “M-KOPA Solar surpasses 60 000 sales — which means about 1% of off-grid homes in Kenya now enjoy better, cheaper lighting and charging. Of these customers over 10 000 have already fully paid for their systems, meaning they enjoy kerosene-free, cost-free power ongoing.”

Since 2010, Nairobi-based M-KOPA Solar has provided affordable solar-powered lighting and mobile charging to rural Kenyans on a pay-as-you-go basis, with payment via M-Pesa. The firm is also working on other products using the same patent-pending technology are in pilot.

Founded by the founders and former executives of Kenya’s popular M-Pesa mobile money service, M-KOPA Solar works with Safaricom, solar lighting company d.light and other experts to power rural homes. In February, M-KOPA Solar raised US$20-million in debt financing and grants to scale up its sales and operations in East Africa, expand into other markets and do research and development and business intelligence. The firm aims at signing up over one million homes before 2018.

Speaking at that time, Jesse Moore, co-founder and managing director of M-KOPA Solar, said, “The M-KOPA Solar model makes world class solar systems affordable for low income consumers — most of whom live below the poverty line. It’s a model that is also proving attractive to investors. At the heart of our business is our patented technology platform that combines embedded GSM with mobile payments to revolutionise asset financing.” Moore also noted the benefits of solar as an alternative to kerosene:

“We know Kenyans spend over US$1-million a year on kerosene. We also know Kenyans would prefer brighter, healthier and safer alternatives. We’ve developed our technology and business model precisely to meet that consumer need.”

This article by Sam Wakoba originally appeared on TechMoran, a Burn Media publishing partner. Image via Wired.

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