10 October 2017

Kenya: Sh8 Billion Solar Plan to Light Up Rural Homes

The UK government and a number of impact investors have raised Sh8 billion to fund a solar project that will light a million homes in Kenya and Uganda.

Kenya mobile phone-based solar kit reseller, M-KOPA Solar, said the initial Sh5.5 billion denominated in Kenya and Uganda shillings was received from UK investment agency CDC (Sh2 billion), Dutch development bank FMO (Sh1.3 billion), Norwegian government's Norfund (Sh1.3 billion) and Sh900 million from Stanbic Bank.

M-KOPA co-founder Chad Larson welcomed the injection saying customers will use their assets as security for the solar kits' purchase. This will aid poor families light homes, charge phones, power radio and TV appliances using green energy. The beneficiaries will make repayments via M-Pesa.

"This record-breaking facility being deployed primarily into off-grid households with a per capita income of less than Sh200 a day is a collaborative effort developed by Stanbic and M-KOPA to lure affordable funds denominated in local currency," he said.

A further Sh2.5 billion of the debt came from responsAbility, Symbiotics, and Triodos Investment Management and is denominated in US currency.

CDC chief executive Nick O'Donohoe said their investment was aimed at transforming lives across the region.

Norfund CEO Kjell Roland said: "Increased access to energy is crucial for development and poverty reduction. Investments in clean energy projects, large-scale power plants as well as off-grid solutions such as M-KOPA, are therefore of high priority for Norfund."

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