24 September 2015, Nairobi – A local pay-as-you-go off grid energy provider has announced connecting 250,000 homes across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
M-Kopa Solar, which provides a payment plan for supply of a solar lighting system, a radio and phone charging apparatus, said the achievement is in line with its target of connecting a million customers to its solar power systems by 2018.
The firm’s managing director and co-founder, Mr Jesse Moore, said the growth in connected customers is satisfactory as the region shifts focus on renewable energy.
“Last September, we celebrated 100,000 customers, and a year later we are already at a quarter-million. With hundreds of great customers coming on board every day, we are helping East Africa leapfrog over the grid to enjoy cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable solar power,” Mr Moore said.
Kenya is emerging as a hot spot for off-grid solar power. A 2014 study by M-Kopa Solar and InterMedia showed that 14 per cent of the surveyed population use solar as their primary lighting and charging source.
M-Kopa is one of the fastest-growing power providers in the region, connecting power to over 500 new homes each day.
The battery-powered 8W home system has three lights, a phone-charging facility and a chargeable radio.
The savings generated by using off grid solar over kerosene are said to be substantial for individual households and the broader East African economy.
Each M-Kopa Solar home is calculated to save $750, compared to using kerosene over a four-year period.
This means that the combined projected savings by the 250,000 households using the system is $187 million.
Nairobi-headquartered, M-Kopa Solar now has a network of over 1,500 direct sales agents and 100 customer service centres across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
*Edwin Okoth – Daily Nation