Renewable energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa have attracted over $25 billion in investments to date. The African Union recently announced a plan to invest another $20 billion. Yet it’s an investment of just 50 cents a day that could make the biggest difference for renewable energy in Africa.
Once the owner of the M-Kopa solar energy system pays off the installment plan, they have two options: keep it, or refinance the system and get additional products like a fuel efficient stove or refrigerator.
“We wanted to build something that was really truly scalable and you have to be able to show that you can make a return for investors,” said Jesse Moore, co-founder of M-Kopa. The “irony of charity is that the money is coming from somewhere else, so the customer doesn’t have the same power,”
Many of the executives for M-Kopa also worked on the popular mobile money system, which started off as a corporate social responsibility project that wasn’t expected to make money. Today, 86% of Kenyan households use mobile money, including every customer of M-Kopa.
“Tech is great and underlies everything we do , but customer service and the ground game is what really matters” said Moore.