The April 2019 insolvency of shooting-star solar provider Mobisol hit the offgrid solar sector like a bombshell, throwing into question the private-sector model of supplying renewable energy to some of the world’s poorest people. Industry insiders concluded that socially minded entrepreneurs, among them Mobisol, took the revolutionary pay-as-you-go system as far as they could, before becoming bogged down in the unforgiving terrain of Africa’s markets. Then, in early September, French energy giant Engie acquired Mobisol, shocking the sector with its against-the-grain plan to take the company’s quest for universal access to energy to another level.
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