M-KOPA—Bringing Solar To Millions Via Pay-As-You-Go Mobile Payments

M KOPA SolarM-KOPA is just 3 years old but already has 300 staff members and $5 million in annual revenues. It is based in Kenya but leads the world in the highly successful pay-as-you-go model for the sale of clean energy to off-grid customers.

With its founders coming from the mobile payment market, M-KOPA combines mobile payments with GSM sensor technology with the result being affordable solar power financing. The founders had already seen mobile technology revolutionize communications and financial services, and they were convinced that it would do the same for energy. Founding M-KOPA, they have actually helped to enable that future.

Based on market research, M-KOPA developed its distributed energy product, a 5W system that includes 3 lights, a rechargeable radio, and a mobile phone charging port. Customers make an initial deposit of $35, which does require a bit of savings in some countries, and then they make daily payments of 47 cents for 360 days. After that, they own the technologies.

M-KOPA aims to see “one billion people living off the electricity grid” with clean energy. and it also aims to supply many of those people with the necessary technologies.

Since October 2012, M-KOPA has brought solar power to 80,000+ East Africa homes. It is adding 1,000+ homes to that last per week. The average savings for each house is estimated to be $750 over 4 years. Furthermore, that $750 would have gone towards burning dirty kerosene. That’s a total savings of $60 million thanks to clean energy and M-KOPA’s attractive payment system.

Another factor that cannot be ignored but often is ignored is safety. Kerosene lighting is dangerous. 92% of M-KOPA customers have indicated that they feel safer thanks to the reduced risk of house fires or burns.

300 staff members and 500 direct sales agents have also benefited from the jobs created by M-KOPA’s model.

In its first full year, M-KOPA enabled over 1 million payments and pulled in nearly $10 million in revenue. That’s quick and strong impact. By next year, 2015, M-KOPA is projected to be enabling 5 million payments and $50 million in annual revenue. By 2018, M-KOPA aims to achieve $100 million in annual revenue.

M-KOPA is one of three finalists in the 2015 Zayed Future Energy Prize “SME” category. To learn more, visit the M-KOPA website.

Image Source: M-KOPA

Originally published on Sustainnovate.

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