Ethiopia is the world’s third largest potential market for solar products but also one of the most challenging. PAYGO solar product providers have traditionally found it difficult to penetrate the 60 million people off-grid population lacking access to energy due to several factors:
Shell Foundation, with co-funding from DFID and USAID, worked with Belcash, the leading mobile money provider in Ethiopia, to accelerate the availability of PAYG energy solutions in the country, co-creating a new enterprise called HelloSolar.
HelloSolar has looked to leverage BelCash’s agent network, brand presence and MFI partnerships to scale the sales and distribution of affordable and high-quality PAYG solar home systems in two regions. They concentrated efforts on informing the customers of the products and the after-sales requirements around installation, payments and maintenance. This early pilot report shows positive results of providing tailored payment plans and using an agent-led sales model, with 82% satisfaction levels among their new customers.
Download the report below.
Source: Africa Energy Platform, AEP
The technology around off-grid solar products has seen considerable development over the years, making access to energy easier for millions of people in energy-starved regions. Highlighting the benefits of some of these products, the newly launched Efficiency for Agricultural Technologies campaign by the Efficiency for Access Coalition has brought the conversation around solar water pumps to the forefront.
The agricultural sector employs 40% of the world’s population. Despite this, many of the world’s smallholder farmers, especially those in remote locations, have no access to energy. Over the last few years, however, off-grid solar products, especially solar water pumps for irrigation have revolutionized, to help farmers increase crop yields and income, in addition to making them more climate resilient.
A Chinese firm, Shenzhen Lemi Technology, has unveiled various solar technologies that it plans to supply to the Ethiopian market. The Shenzhen-based company displayed solar powered appliances that charge mobile phones, power bulbs, radio, TV and other home gadgets. The company also manufactures and supplies solar street lights. A number of Ethiopian companies engaged in importing solar products participated in the conference and exhibition held on Monday at Capital Hotel.
At the launching ceremony representatives of Shenzhen Lemi disclosed that they want to provide quality certified solar products to the East African market in collaboration with local solar companies.
Wilhelmina Diop is investing her skills in Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development into providing rural communities in Ethiopia with affordable access to power, through the startup company, HelloSolar.
Could you introduce the company?
HelloSolar is the first operational distributor of Pay-as-you-Go solar home systems (SHS) in Ethiopia. We provide our clients with affordable, reliable and sustainable solar energy solutions, payable in small instalments, via mobile money. We propose a range of products with strict quality checks, from a simple solar lantern with charging capacity to more complex SHS systems with components such as televisions and fans. We also provide full circle customer support and warranty services. As a mission-driven organization, HelloSolar believes in energy as an enabler. Accelerating access to solar energy solutions, as well as mobile money services, will support access to digital connectivity, financial services and other social services for the Ethiopian off-grid population.