M-PESA now linked with solar solution
VALUE ADDED SERVICESBy BiztechAfrica - Oct. 19, 2012, 6:45 p.m.
Safaricom and M-KOPA have launched the first GSM-enabled pay-as-you-go solar solution in the world that customers pay for using mobile money.
Using embedded Safaricom enabled sim cards, M-KOPA Solar allows a customer to enjoy the use of a d.light solar home system, while paying daily instalments of Kshs.40 via M-PESA for a period of one year.
An initial deposit of Kshs.2,500 applies, after which customers pay for usage at their convenience.
This credit-sale model is targeted at low income households in rural areas currently dependent on kerosene for lighting and local mobile bureaus for phone charging. An estimated 3 million Kenyan homes or 80% of the population living off the power grid spend an average of Kshs.70 daily on kerosene and phone charging.
“The barrier to large-scale adoption of solar lighting has been the high upfront cost of a home system, which makes it unaffordable to the majority of Kenyans. Indeed the penetration of solar lighting products in Africa as a whole remains at less than 2%. M-KOPA Solar has been developed to remove this barrier by making solar home systems affordable and accessible to low income consumers,” said Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore.
M-KOPA Solar makes available the d.light Solar Home System, a high quality product which combines 3 bright bulbs and a mobile phone charging to meet the needs of the average Kenyan family. It has a one year warranty and a product lifespan of 7-10 years.
"As with M-PESA, M-KOPA has been designed specifically to suit the needs and budgets of Kenyan consumers. By working with Safaricom, a world leader for mobile innovation, we can spread this new service to all parts of Kenya,” Nick Hughes, Chairman of M-KOPA, formerly Global Head of M-PESA for Vodafone Group.
Jesse Moore, the Managing Director of M-KOPA, hailed the M-KOPA solar solution as a great step forward in promoting the clean energy inclusion agenda.
"M-KOPA succeeds when our customers save money. We have over 1,000 customers in Kenya already, with a wide majority telling us how good it feels to save money while getting far better lighting than with kerosene and the convenience of mobile phone charging at home. We look forward bringing better lighting at lower cost to tens of thousands of homes over the coming year."
M-KOPA solar is currently available in 75 shops in Eldoret and Kitale with plans underway to scale nationwide. Over the next quarter 250 dealers in the North Rift, Nyanza and Western parts of the country will be signed up with a planned roll out for the rest of Rift Valley, Central, Eastern and the Coast planned for next year.
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