M-KOPA Solar lights up 20,000 Ugandan homes

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East African pay-as-you-go energy provider for off-grid customers M-KOPA Solar has announced it has connected over 20,000 homes in Uganda to affordable solar power since launching in the country in mid-2013, and is now expanding its distribution nationwide and targeting an extra 50,000 homes by the end of this year.

Disrupt Africa reported last month M-KOPA Solar, which launched in Kenya in October 2012, closed its fourth round of investment through a US$12.45 million equity and debt deal led by LGT Venture Philanthropy.

The startup, which combines mobile payments with GSM sensor technology to enable the leasing of solar power systems, has so far connected more than 150,000 homes in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to solar power, and announced today more than 20,000 of those homes are in Uganda.

M-KOPA said its growth had been driven by its “revolutionary payment plan”, which makes high-quality solar affordable, even to those living on low-income. Customers can acquire the M-KOPA III for a deposit of UGX99,000 (US$33) plus daily payments of UGX1,400 (US$0.50) over the course of one year. This is cheaper than customers would pay on average for the equivalent in kerosene lighting and charging services.

“We are very proud of the M-KOPA III solar home system and our success to date in Uganda. Together we are helping Ugandans get rid of kerosene, improve their standard of living and save money all at once. It’s a win-win for everyone,” said Jesse Moore, managing director and co-founder of M-KOPA Solar.

Anthony Weremaka, general manager of M-KOPA Uganda, said M-KOPA was connecting over 500 new homes to solar in Uganda each week, and predicted even bigger growth in the future.

“We have nearly 100 terrific staff and 200 sales agents across the country who earn a good income selling M-KOPA products and services. We’ll be doubling in size over the course of this year and so looking for other talented people to join our team, be part of this great company and change people’s lives,” he said.

Moore said in many markets around the world solar is seen as a luxury.

“But in Uganda solar is giving people an essential foot on the energy ladder and helping them save money. We are proud to have 20,000 customers already but also know we are only beginning to make our positive impact in Uganda – the best is yet to come,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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