Easy Solar is making energy affordable and accessible in west Africa

Easy Solar is making energy affordable and accessible in west Africa

Hi Quartz Africa members! Africa has some of the most expensive electricity in the world, and more than half of the continent’s population doesn’t even have access to it. These include those who are either too poor to afford power, or live in remote places without last-mile connectivity. Scarce resources mean governments struggle to prioritize between expanding the reach of last-mile distribution, replacing aging power infrastructure, and saving power utilities that are drowning in debt. As a result, Africa’s electricity gaps restrain businesses , restrict the availability of services, leave people impoverished, and put a cap on quality of life. As the continent’s population soars in coming years, these problems only stand to get worse. Cue solar. To improve access to affordable, consistent, and sustainable power, many companies are emerging to offer solar-powered systems to those for whom the regular grid is out of reach. Companies like Easy Solar, M-Kopa, d.light, Azuri Technologies, and Greenlight Planet offer appliances as small as a solar lantern to charge a phone, or as sophisticated as a solar system for electrifying a house. To make the upfront investment manageable, especially for those with limited credit histories, users pay it off in small increments on a weekly or monthly basis. In other words, there’s an opening at the intersection of Africa’s power gaps and the clean-energy transition for identifying and scaling off-grid solutions. � The opportunity: Electricity is an essential need. People in Africa want to get connected, but what’s provided by governments—on-grid electricity—is too expensive for many and doesn’t reach everywhere. Less than half of sub-Saharan Africa had access to electricity in 2019 ; in South Sudan and Chad, the number was less than 10%. That means a market for alternative sources of electricity. � The road map: Providing solar equipment to low-income earners and those in remote areas, with the ability to pay the investment off in installments, is one way of getting electricity to the underserved. � The stakeholders: Investors include Trine, a Swedish impact-investing platform; Acumen, a US-based nonprofit impact-investment fund; FMO, a Dutch entrepreneurial development bank; and the Africa Renewable Power Fund of the UK’s ARCH Emerging Markets Partners, an investment advisor. Name: Easy Solar
Founded: 2016
HQ: Freetown, Sierra Leone, with operations in Sierra Leone and Liberia
Founders: Nthabiseng Mosia (current CMO), Alexandre Tourre (current CEO) and Eric Silverman (current sales and operations director)
Latest funding: $5 million […]

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