More than 70 percent of sub-Saharan Africa has no access to electricity. In rural areas this often exceeds 95 percent. Millions of people throughout the continent continue to rely on harmful fuels like kerosene to light up their homes and power their shops when night falls. Although modern alternatives such as solar energy exist, most households in rural areas lack the cash to buy home systems and often the technical skills to install them.
SolarNow, a Netherlands-based social enterprise, aims to overcome these challenges by providing home owners with access to credit through an innovative hire-purchase finance scheme backed by a network of retailers that distribute and install these systems. Through this scheme, users rent solar systems until they have paid off the cost of the full system.
SolarNow’s commitment to the Business Call to Action is to scale up access to these solar systems for more than 1.1. million people by 2015. Over its lifespan, the solar power panels will cut down on energy costs, provide additional income opportunities, and cut down on carbon dioxide emissions by 22,620 tonnes.
To date, SolarNow has reached 500,000 people through the sale of 124,000 systems in five in Uganda, Tanzania, Mali, Burkina Faso and Senegal.