Energy, utilities, environmentCompany size: 500-1000 people
About the market
More than 500 million people across sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity and the International Energy Agency expects that number to increase to 700 million by 2030. Since extending the grid to them would cost billions of dollars, micro-scale, off-grid power from solar is often the only viable answer to energy poverty.
In countries like Uganda, where only 15% of the population has an on-grid connection, there’s undeniable potential for solar to leapfrog traditional energy provision models; however affordability, perceptions of low quality and the absence of last-mile distribution and maintenance networks are curtailing development.
About the company
These are the very problems that Uganda-based company, SolarNow, was founded to solve. It sells high-quality solar systems to fit the needs of rural households and small entrepreneurs — from 50Wp home set-ups capable of powering a radio, phone and small number of lights to 5KWp systems that can power a small office or machine – plus a range of consumer electronics, including LED lights, televisions, fridges, flat irons and water pumps.
Crucially, SolarNow also provides credit that allows customers to spread payment for all these products over 24 months. Together with a network of 46 branches (>400 FTE) and a price plan that includes full installation and maintenance – backed by a unique five-year warranty – SolarNow has all the pieces in place to take optimal advantage of this unique market opportunity. The company already serves 12,000 clients in Uganda and plans to roll out its operations into other East African countries during 2016.