M-KOPA Solar addresses this challenge. The company was founded in 2011 by former executives behind M-PESA, the world's leading mobile payment platform. It uses an innovative approach to give low-income households in East Africa access to power: it combines mobile payments with GSM sensor technology to enable households to buy a solar home system at an affordable price.

Healthy and clean alternative
In Kenya, more than eight million households spend a combined USD 1 billion on kerosene lighting. This costs a household on average USD 200 per year. A solar system from M-KOPA costs a one-off payment of USD 200. Kenyans can make a deposit of USD 35 to get this product. Then they pay USD 0.45 every day using their mobile phones.

This daily amount is lower than the amount they paid daily for kerosene. The GSM technology ensures that the solar energy system is activated when the credit has been paid. It will take customers about a year to pay the instalments, and then they own the solar energy system.

M-KOPA currently provides more than 630,000 households in East Africa with a solar energy system.

The loans provided by Hivos-Triodos Fund, Triodos Microfinance Fund and Triodos Fair Share Fund enables M-KOPA Solar to realise its growth ambitions.

Find out more about the role of financial technology in improving people’s access to basic needs and deepening the impact of financial inclusion. Read our publication ‘Fintech: a game changer for financial inclusion?’