Mobisol solar home systems provide clean energy for entire households
1. Energy technology used by the project
The Mobisol Prepaid Energy – Rent to Own Solar Home System project provides an off-grid energy solution to the rural households in Rwanda. Mobisol developed an innovative concept combining solar energy, mobile technology and microfinance: The inclusion of mobile money allows for an effective client payment schedule and increases the affordability of the solar home system (SHS). By integrating a GSM modem into each SHS, technical data from the panel and battery is tracked and stored in a web-based database (IT backend). The 24/7 remote monitoring technology allows for maintenance problems to be addressed swiftly. The IT backend also tracks payment patterns and enables the systems to be locked remotely in case of overdue accounts – thus decreasing the risk of payment default.
The project aims to provide high-quality solar systems to at least 49,000 households and 1,000 schools. This is equal to 4.9MW-installed capacity in households and 3MW in schools. The expected displacement per household is approximately 300 kg of CO2, which amounts to roughly 15.300t per year.
2. Context / short summary
The core challenge addressed by this project is the limited or complete lack of access to electricity of rural households in Rwanda. The project seeks to provide a clean and sustainable energy supply alternative to unhealthy and environmentally harmful fossil fuels. By providing affordable off-grid energy while simultaneously supporting economic activity, Mobisol strives to contribute profoundly in ensuring to archive the electrification goals of the Rwandan Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy 2013-2018.
Mobisol’s SHS are microfinance based on a 36-month payment plan and 3-year warranty. Mobisol’s clean solar energy increases the regional standard of living by leapfrogging the electricity grid and replacing the usage of fossil fuels. Mobisol SHS reduce CO2 emissions and indoor pollutants, while providing the opportunity for children to study after dark and family members to have access to information through radio, Internet and TV.
Productive use kits such as mobile phone and lantern charging stations are unique ready-to-go business bundles used by customers. The generated income from the charging business enables entrepreneurs to pay off the monthly rates and also provides additional income. Mobisol has developed all of the technology for the system in-house making the company highly responsive and adaptive to the needs of the customer. Our end-user focused service approach and distribution structure ensures the project’s sustainability and continuous development in sales and distribution.
3. Geographical location
Rwanda, Eastern Province, Bugesera District
4. Main activities
The project’s main activities are to set up of the sales and distribution infrastructure to serve customers’ demand; the incorporation of a rent-to-own finance scheme and inclusion of mobile money; the development of a technical service infrastructure for after-sale-service; the distribution of solar home systems and business kits to support economic activities and the commencement of a training infrastructure (Mobisol Academy) to train local sales and technical staff.
5. Expected results
The complete design of a Mobisol SHS creates many positive socio-economic and environmental implications for Rwanda starting with the project’s beneficiaries directly experiencing the economic advantages of the solar system itself. The Mobisol SHS’s mobile “pay as you use” feature ensures that systems are effectively paid off and enables the rural poor to own a PV system. Cost for lighting (e.g. kerosene, candles) and dry cell batteries are reduced. Another economic benefit for Mobisol customers includes increased incomes and profits for existing micro-enterprises. Profits can be increased either by enabling longer working hours or by attracting more customers on the account of brighter electric light. With Mobisol’s business kits, the economic productive ability of rural households can be improved. The generated income enables the customer to pay off the monthly rates and to contribute to the family’s livelihood. Incremental savings on costs of lightning are complemented by incremental income from the business kits.
The social benefits of clean, affordable electricity are obvious. The standard of living of entire households is elevated through electrification: Families can power radios, TV, laptop, entertainment systems and even efficient refrigerators. Aside from the need for access to modern power, households without kerosene lamps have less indoor air pollution; children can study after dark, and access to information
increases. Mobisol targets the roots of gender inequality in general by addressing the “gender-energy-poverty” nexus. Access to clean and efficient home energy sources can improve the livelihoods of girls and women. This is especially beneficial to women because they stay indoors for longer periods of time than men and are acutely exposed to the adverse effects of fuel-based cooking and lighting. Furthermore, the risks of burn injuries, structural fires and unintentional ingestion of kerosene by children are reduced. Mobisol business kits for mobile and lantern charging are valued business opportunities for women who are more often than men bound to the household as principal caregivers for their children.
Mobisol contributes to capacity building in Rwanda: The Mobisol Academy offers workshops and training courses for local technicians and sales and marketing agents. Participants of the courses as well as participants of village presentations act as multipliers by spreading their knowledge of modern solar technology and IT development to their communities. Marketing, sales and maintenance of Mobisol systems generate a growing number of local jobs.
One of the most important environmental impacts of Mobisol is the replacement of fossil fuels with a renewable resource, solar energy. This increases the standard of living and more global equality, while leapfrogging mostly fossil fuelled power stations, and replacing the current usage of kerosene. This leads to an immediate reduction in CO2, greater than any reduction a fossil fuel electrification program could ever deliver.
6. Direct beneficiaries
The project aims to provide high-quality solar systems to at least 49,000 households and 1,000 schools, which is equivalent to a quarter of a million people living in electrified households and 400,000 students attending electrified schools. Altogether 645,000 people will benefit from access to sustainable energy.
7. Total estimated cost of the project
The total cost of the project has been estimated to 22,184,616 EUR.
8. Total co-financing requested
6 m EUR co-financing from the EU have been requested. This is equivalent to 27% of the total project costs.
9. Contact information:
Mobisol Rwanda Ltd
Nyamata, Bugesera District
Toll free: 2345