Sun replaces kerosene
But there is one source of electricity that is plentiful, essentially free of charge, clean and readily available in East Africa – the sun. And M-KOPA Solar offers a way for Ugandans, Kenyans and Tanzanians to harness the energy from the sun – and use it at home. The system that M-KOPA sells has solar panels, two LED light bulbs, a LED torch, a phone charger and a radio – and a solar powered TV set is about to be available too. It is designed to fit the needs and the wallets of rural Ugandans, Tanzanians and Kenyans. BESTSELLER FOUNDATION – through the fundraising initiative GIVE-A-DAY – has funded the purchase of 8,300 solar systems which are being sold across the three East African countries.
LED bulbs light the way
Florence Nalubwama from Mabuye-Mpigi, some three hours from Uganda’s capital Kampala, has bought a solar power system. She is a single mother of three and she runs a small shop from her house. She used to be able to keep her shop open until 8 PM with the aid of a kerosene lamp – now she’s got three LED bulbs and free solar energy and stays open until 11 PM, she says. Not only are the longer hours good for business – it’s also cheaper to pay the installments on the system than it was to buy kerosene. Florence used to spend roughly 1 USD per day to keep two kerosene lamps going. Now she pays 0.45 USD per day for the solar power system. And after a year she owns it and will pay nothing. She can leave the children in the main house with the lights on so they can concentrate on their homework instead of all squeezing into Florence’s little thatched shop under a kerosene lamp.