Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Affording energy is a difficult proposition for those living in impoverished areas of Kenya. Getting on to the electrical grid is an expensive endeavor, and as a result many must depend on kerosene-burning lanterns for light. Not only is the cost of kerosene prohibitive for many families, but these lanterns also endanger families’ health as smoke from indoor kerosene lamps can cause tuberculosis and other diseases. Kerosene also emits black carbon, a major drive of climate change.
To remedy these problems, M-KOPA Solar has been providing access to a low-cost energy solution in Kenya since 2011. Their products, built in coordination with solar light and panel producer d.light, provide a solar lighting and electricity system that can be paid for over the course of one year after a single deposit. The affordable units come with several lights, a solar panel, a control unit, and USB outlets for charging mobile phones. M-KOPA’s real innovation, however, is their method for managing payments. Buyers can use their mobile phones to pay installments and can use the system’s built-in display to keep track of payment credit. This payment method is not only flexible, but it also gives buyers independence through ownership over a clean energy source. M-KOPA’s success is a testament to how well their payment system works.
As of February 2014, M-KOPA has touched 50,000 households, and continues to add 1,000 households a week. By switching from fossil fuel to solar, customers have saved over $38M and prevented the release of 65,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Additionally, access to a high-quality lighting increases productivity. On April 7th 2014, M-KOPA was recognized as a new energy pioneer at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit in New York City for their action in helping impoverished families and protecting the environment. This recognition is well deserved for M-KOPA’s truly win-win solution.
Environmental Impact: Avoided use of fossil fuels, including reduced emission of GHGs and harmful substances
Measurement: M-KOPA Solar
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