Energy for all: Mobile technology‐enabled financing for d.light solar home systems in Kenya

d.light's proposal is for a solar home system (SHS) that allows people to move from Tier 1 to Tier 2 energy access to achieve a new level of energy access and quality of life. Many off‐grid Africans spend more than the price of a SHS on kerosene and mobile charging each year, yet cannot afford to pay upfront to purchase a SHS. This upfront cost affordability barrier will be solved using d.light’s proprietary pay-as-you-go (PAYG) technology, enabling the customer to make a modest down payment and recurring payments that are equivalent to their current energy spending. After a period of 1-3 years, depending on rate of repayment, the customer will have full ownership of the SHS.

d.light will hire 34 full-time employees and 300 commission agents with a target of a minimum of 50% women for commission agents, sales managers, and call centre agents. 

The Tier 2 levels of energy generated from the SHS will also allow local entrepreneurs to use the system to power an existing enterprise or to start a new business.

TRANSFORM will support d.light to supply its solar home system to thousands of direct beneficiaries in Kenya by the end of 2017. Specifically, TRANSFORM will support d.light by providing funding for the staff, marketing, call centre and training costs of the establishment of the financial accessibility offering. This funding will also secure the required proof points to attract debt capital to scale the d.light’s financing offering.

Over the next five years, d.light aims to impact more than 150 million lives globally and a large part of this will come from Kenya through its PAYG offering. Learnings from the pilot in Kenya will test assumptions for creating a viable business model for scale that can subsequently be scaled to other countries.

Kamal Lath, CFO, d.light said, “We're excited to partner with TRANSFORM to increase energy access in Kenya and this project will be very critical for d.light in terms of testing a new product innovation in one of our key markets globally”.

“We are thankful to TRANSFORM for the grant which will enable families in Kenya living on less than $1.25 per day to access affordable, clean solar lighting. The funding will enable d.light to support families make their homes healthier, safer and more productive environments.” said d.light CEO and co-founder Ned Tozun.