Mobisol approaching 50,000 PV home system installations in East Africa

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At Ecosummit 2016, which finishes today in Berlin, German startup Mobisol received silver award as one of the best startups in Europe. This is not the first award for the company: earlier this year, Mobisol received New energy pioneers award from Bloomberg, in December 2015 – Sustainia Award at the U.N. conference in Paris. Last year, the company also won in “top business model” category of pv magazine award.

Ecosummit award might be not the most impressive one on the list, but it means a lot for the company, Mobisol’s corporate development manager Klaus Maier told pv magazine.

“It is different from the others, here we compete with the startups that offer very impressive innovative ideas. Here it is not only working in Africa that makes us special. This award shows that our business model is great”.

The Berlin-based solar startup does have a very impressive business model. The company sells off-grid PV kits in Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania, providing electricity to distant rural communities. The customers can pay for the system in instalments up to three years, transferring their monthly payments via mobile phones.

Mobisol’s PV systems are available in four different sizes ranging from 80, 100, 120 to 200 W. A small PV system provides enough power for a family to be able to use the basic devices, like a fridge or a TV. It also gives people an opportunity to earn money by powering devices for other community members.

To date, Mobisol has already sold about 50,000 systems, providing electricity for more than 250,000 people. “Yesterday, we sold 112 systems. The day before yesterday, we sold 141. On average, we sell 120 units per day,” said Klaus Maier.

He added that the German startup has recently entered Kenyan market, it is also working with a local solar technology supplier. “We already PV modules produced in Kenya to our customers in Rwanda. It is not a big share yet, but we are planning to increase it in the future”.

To be able to make their solution affordable for people in rural areas, Mobisol often uses bikes rather than cars for delivery, avoiding additional transportation costs. But distant African communities are often hard to reach. Therefore, the company is now testing a new delivery option.

“We are planning to use drones for delivery to lower the transportation costs,” said Klaus Maier. “We have already tested this option and it works very well”.