M-KOPA has thus far connected over 20,000 off grid homes in Uganda affordable solar power. The ‘pay as you go’ solar energy provider is one of the fastest growing power providers in Uganda projecting to light up more than 50,000 homes this year.
M-KOPA Solar rolled out in Kenya in October 2012, and now provides solar power to over 150,000 Kenyan homes. M-KOPA began pilot operations in Eastern Uganda in mid-2013 and is now scaling up across the country.
The solar energy provider’s rapid growth has been driven by its revolutionary payment plan, which makes high-quality solar affordable, even to those living on low-income. Customers can acquire the company’s latest solar system – the M-KOPA III – for a deposit of UGX 99,000 plus 365 daily payments of UGX 1400. The daily price is cheaper than what customers would pay on average for the equivalent in kerosene lighting and charging services.
After a year of daily payments, customers own their systems outright with no further billing. The deposit is fully refundable and customers can receive real-time customer support from M-KOPA’s toll free call center, 7 days a week. All payments are made conveniently over either MTN Mobile Money or Airtel Money platforms.
The M-KOPA III comes with an 8W solar panel, a high quality lithium battery, two LED solar lights with switches, a solar rechargeable LED torch, a solar rechargeable radio and a mobile phone charger. The M-KOPA III is upgradeable to include two additional solar lights – sold separately.
Over 500 new homes are connected to solar each week. The service provider has nearly 100 staff and 200 sales agents across the country to enable effective distribution. The company is however looking to expand the team in a bid to meet the set target before end of year.
In many markets around the world, solar is seen as something of a luxury. But in Uganda solar is giving people an essential foot on the energy ladder and helping them save money. M-KOPA has its global headquarters in Nairobi with its Uganda head office based in Entebbe. There are over 15 service centers across Uganda with plans to open 20 more this year.