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|| Mobile-enabled Energy for Humanitarian Contexts: The Case for Pay-as-you-go Solar Home Systems in Kakuma Refugee Camp
|| Jenny Casswell, Akanksha Sharma & Maha Khan
| Published in:
|| February 2019
|| Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar is a flagship example of how mobile technology can help make clean energy affordable for low-income populations, while also creating sustainable business models. It has has seen impressive growth in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia in the last five years, with over two million solar home systems (SHSs) sold on a PAYG basis by the end of 2018.
This success has led humanitarian organisations and solar providers alike to consider whether PAYG solar could be a viable option for extending electricity to new untapped off-grid areas, such as refugee camps. Although the opportunity is significant, replicating PAYG solar can be challenging in complex market environments, where providers need to adapt their payment collection methods, educate customers in the use of digital financial tools and rethink their last-mile distribution strategy.
This study digs deeper into this issue and specifically focuses on Kakuma to understand the opportunities and challenges. To date, just over 1,000 SHSs have been deployed to Kakuma Refugee Camp, and the impact has been felt across many households and small businesses in the refugee camp and host community. The key finding of the report is that PAYG solar products can fill the energy access gap in the camp and perhaps in other humanitarian contexts, as well. However, it will not be easy and it is not always business as usual.
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