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M-Kopa solar kit sales off to good start

By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya

The recently introduced pay-as-you-go solar kit has taken off to a promising start with 1,000 units sold and 200 more ordered.

M-Kopa, which partnered with Safaricom to introduce the device to promote clean energy use in rural areas, dispelled fears that the asking price would put off potential buyers.

“We are offering a high quality durable product that meets the needs of our clients,” M-Kopa Solar Solutions managing director Jesse Moore said.

M-Kopa also plans to come up with a higher voltage solar panel that would be ideal for its rural-based clients.

Potential customers in Eldoret where the device was launched had expressed reservations about the overall cost and voltage of the device.

“The daily instalment is beyond the reach of many rural households but people are keen on acquiring the solar kit,” said Oliver Maiyo, who bought a unit last week.

Judy Changwony from Uasin Gishu said the voltage of the solar device needed to be improved to enable rural residents use it to run television sets and other electronics.

Buyers are required to pay a deposit of Sh2,500 and later pay Sh40 daily for one year to acquire the kit bringing the overall cost to about Sh17,000. The daily instalments are paid through M-Pesa, Safaricom’s mobile money transfer service.

The solar kit, which has 12 watts voltage, is embedded with the subscribers SIM card to ensure it does not light when the instalment is not paid. When fully charged the kit can last for approximately 12 hours.

The solar powered device targeting rural households  intends to replace the use of kerosene whose price is on the rise besides its use being harmful to the environment and human health.

The kit has three bulbs and five mobile charging slots in line with its objective of reducing the cost of charging mobile handsets and lighting rural households. 

“The customer can open mobile charging bureaus where they can charge a fee for the service,” said Moore.

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