Decentralised solar power is bringing light to remote African villages

Decentralised solar power is bringing light to remote African villages

Families in remote areas of sub-Saharan Africa with no grid electricity are benefiting was spread of a new generation of home solar systems. Indeed more than 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to power. A new generation of solar packs, supported by innovating financing system is bring electric power to remote regions.

One of a number of pioneering firms, Sollatek, is working to bring power to hundreds of millions in sub-Saharan Africa.

Before the arrival of home solar systems, visibility at night was a nightmare and lighting was expensive. Families are now finding electric light to be both safer and cheaper than kerosene.

Families can also charge phones for their neighbours, which brings some extra cash into the household. These savings have enabled the family to pay monthly for the Sollatek system.

Sollatek Electronics, is a Kenyan firm that sells its solar products into small businesses and homes in seven nations across eastern Africa. It works with local partners to provide credit for people enabling families to pay over 24 months.

Financing has been a key issue preventing solar technology from getting in more homes in this vast region.

Sollatek has found a solution via a UK investment initiative called Energise Africa which helps connect investors, big and small, with those companies installing these life-changing solar systems in the region.

About one billion people across the globe do not have access to electricity. A global coalition of 200 private and public organisations have been campaigning to deliver universal energy access before 2030, two-thirds of these people reside in sub-Saharan Africa. Energise Africa is enabling individual investors to back companies helping to solve this energy crisis. Energise Africa is backed by online impact investment platforms Ethex and Lendahand, which between them have attracted more than 14,000 investors and raised a combined £80m for social enterprises, charities and businesses since 2013.

Another group to have benefited from the Energise Africa investment platform is London-based BBOXX, which designs, manufactures, distributes and finances “plug and play” solar systems to improve access to energy across Africa and the developing world.

Mobile payments have helped boost sales of solar solutions in the sub-Saharan region, and ensured finance terms for the equipment are easy to manage for both the customer and the supplier. Families already spend enormous amounts of money on fossil fuels like kerosene – up to $25 (£19) a month. The entry-level solar systems, with three light bulbs and a phone charger, is just $6 a month.

To date BBOXX, which launched in 2010, has installed 160,000 kits.

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January 15, 2019
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