M-KOPA provides pay-as-you-go electricity to off-grid households and businesses by combining micropayment and mobile technology to enable leasing of solar power systems.
M-KOPA’s financing model makes the company’s solar systems affordable for East African households and businesses. Each system is bought with an initial deposit of $35, followed by 365 daily payments of $0.50, which is less than typical customers’ daily spending on kerosene. The system comes with a battery, a phone charger and a smart SIM connection. When a payment is made via mobile phone, a signal is sent from the central platform to activate the battery and power is provided.
After payment completion, the customer owns the solar system outright. Customers with good payment behavior are then offered a range of upgrades if they continue with their $0.5 per day payment plan. These upgrades range from additional lights, energy-efficient cook stoves, smart phones and solar TVs, all adding additional revenue for M-KOPA. The company has connected more than 400,000 homes in East Africa to solar power, and aims to reach one million homes by the end of 2017.
Why you should care
More than 620 million people, or two-thirds of the population in sub-Saharan Africa, are without access to an electricity grid. By combining micropayment and mobile technologies, M-KOPA is rapidly growing in its quest to provide renewable energy to customers for whom clean, affordable electricity was previously inaccessible.