Kenyan-based solar energy financier, M-Kopa, is set to launch solar-powered digital televisions targeted at citizens residing in areas with little to no access to the national electricity grid. A bold move which shows the company’s expansion into the production of more household products in order to boost its revenue.

The solar-powered televisions will be sold to customers on the company’s existing model where buyers will pay Sh50 daily for a year, depending on the size of the TV, after which, they take full ownership with all the channels being free to air, said the firm.

Therefore, M-Kopa fundamentally bundles the hardware supplies with credit to boost uptake from customers, most of whom are low-income earners. M-Kopa uses technology to control customer defaults, with those failing to pay having their gadgets switched off remotely from the firm’s headquarters. However, customers who establish a good payment record are offered the chance to re-mortgage their ‘solar system’ to acquire other goods.

M-Kopa solar products

In M-Kopa’s current sales list, energy-saving stoves are the best-selling products, but with the launch of solar-powered televisions, the firm is set to increase sales as a result of the considerably low number of television owners in rural households and additionally, double the firm’s revenue.

Generally, M-Kopa has transformed Kenya by providing power to remote areas that may, otherwise, have to wait for state-driven rural electrification schemes. About 300,000 homes and businesses in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania use M-Kopa’s products and Jesse Moore, the Chief Executive of the company, says the goal is to have one million customers by the end of 2017.

M-Kopa’s current power system costs an estimated $200 (Sh20, 000) and includes a solar panel, two LED bulbs, an LED flashlight, a rechargeable radio and adaptors for charging a phone. The kit comes with a two-year warranty and its battery is designed to last for at least four years.

The solar-powered television package is expected to be available from the middle of this year with free-to-air channels on the sets, while the price would be announced today.

M-KOPA Solar – ‘kopa’ meaning ‘borrowed’ in swahili– is a Nairobi-based business that has pioneered the idea of “pay-as-you-go” solar energy in Africa. The company was started by the founders of M-Pesa, Kenya’s top mobile money system which has, so far, taken the world by storm.

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