African telecoms company, MTN, is extending its partnership with energy and financial services firm Fenix International to launch pay-to-own solar home systems in Zambia. The Swedish Embassy in Zambia is committing nearly $3million to Fenix in Zambia between now and 2020, with USAID contributing an additional $750,000.
The launch in Zambia represents the first step in Fenix’s expansion across Africa with their flagship product, Ready Pay Power, which provides off-grid customers access to ultra-affordable solar power.
Fenix will extend its own proven model for making solar power accessible and affordable, which has doubled the company’s Ugandan customer base in just 12 months. With backing from the Swedish Embassy and USAID, Fenix expects to reach 850,000 rural Zambians by 2020.
Ready Pay Power is an expandable solar home system designed to provide power to households and small businesses that the grid has failed to reach. Customers make instalments of as little as $0.20 per day via MTN Mobile Money until they have paid in full. Fenix uses these continuous micro-payments to generate a credit score, enabling customers to access additional system upgrades or financial services.
Funding from the Embassy of Sweden in Lusaka is provided as part of the Power Africa: Beyond the Grid Fund Zambia (BGFZ) initiative. This is managed by REEEP (the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership). BGFZ aims to bring basic clean energy access to 1 million Zambians and accelerate private sector growth in clean energy generation and distribution in the country. USAID’s additional $750,000 support is provided as part of its Scaling Off-Grid Energy: Grand Challenge for Development, which aims to create up to 20 million new connections in off-grid communities across Africa.