M a r k e t N e w s

SolarAid debuts 'world's most affordable' solar light

Posted on : Tuesday, 11th October 2016

 he fast-expanding off-grid solar technology market has received a dual boost this month, as SolarAid debuted a new low-cost solar lamp and Investec Asset Management announced the acquisition of a "significant" shareholding in solar home system specialist Mobisol.

UK-based SolarAid last week unveiled the new SM100 solar light, which has been developed by Yingli Green Energy Europe and is being hailed as the "world's most affordable quality solar light".
SolarAid said the new light had been designed to meet Lighting Africa standards and will retail for $5 in Africa, in a bid to make it more accessible for the 598 million Africans who lack access to electricity.
The charity said 9,000 SM100s have already been distributed through SolarAid's social enterprise SunnyMoney, confirming that the lamps provide more than five hours of bright light and offer a viable alternative to polluting kerosene lamps.
"The SM100 will provide safe light to millions more families who live currently on less than $1.25 per day," said Darren Thompson, managing director of Yingli Green Energy Europe in a statement. "Not only will the lamp save lives, it will also support children's education at home in the dark evenings and save families money by avoiding the purchase of air-polluting kerosene."
The launch of the new solar light came as SolarAid kicked off a new social media campaign, designed to raise funds to support its rollout of the technology across Africa.
Dubbed #Powerof10 the campaign provides a new platform that aims to make it easier for people to share information about SolarAid's work through social media.
"It's an ambitious plan," said Nick Sireau, CEO of SolarAid. "But the feedback we have been getting from our sales agents in Africa about the SM100 is very encouraging. In some places we sold out of stock almost immediately so we know there is a huge market for the SM100, especially at the $5 price point. When I first started at SolarAid 10 years ago the lights we sold in Africa were $25 each."
The news came in the same week as Germany-based off-grid solar home system provider Mobisol announced it had secured investment from Investec Asset Management to support its African expansion plans.
Investec said it had acquired a "significant" shareholding in Mobisol for an undisclosed sum, as part of a deal that has also seen existing shareholder DEG increase its shareholding in the company.
Mobisol specialises in solar systems that are designed to meet the energy needs of a typical off-grid African household, providing enough power for lighting, radios and stereos, mobile phone charging, TVs, and other appliances. The company said it has already installed over 60,000 solar home systems in Tanzania and Rwanda and is now targeting expansion into the Kenyan market.
The company has developed a three-year payment plan for the units, designed to costing approximately the same on a daily basis as typical customers spend on kerosene, candles, batteries and mobile phone charging.
"Our partnership with Investec Asset Management marks an important milestone in the growth history of Mobisol," said Thomas Gottschalk, founder and CEO of Mobisol, in a statement. "The investment and partnership with Investec will allow Mobisol to concentrate on scaling and better serving our customers while constantly innovating and reinforcing our unique competitive edge."

Source : www.businessgreen.com
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