Greenlight Planet launches Sun King Eco Easy Buy solar lamp platform in Kenya


Driven by a mission to empower under-electrified communities with access to clean, affordable solar lighting technologies, Greenlight Planet has become a global leader in producing high quality solar energy products. To date, more than 3 million households in low-income off-grid communities use Greenlight's Sun King line of solar home lighting solutions ranging in price from $10-100. Approximately 1.5 billion people around the world lack access to the electric grid and are dependent on expensive, inefficient fuel-based sources of light. While products like Sun King offer a sustainable, affordable, long-lasting solution, an inability to make a one-time up-front payment poses a challenge for many potential customers.

Anish Thakkar, CEO and co-founder of Greenlight Planet, notes: "Most of our customers earn less than $2 a day and have very little disposable income. Some are dependent on daily wages, often used to purchase basic necessities, including kerosene, mobile phone airtime and food in small increments. We needed to find an alternative to up-front payments that fit this purchasing pattern."

Enabled by a groundbreaking pay-as-you-go system powered by Angaza Design, the Sun King Eco Easy Buy affords customers the ability to buy with a small down payment at the time of purchase and pay the balance through weekly installments across a few months. Customers can make a modest up-front payment of $2.75 at the time of purchase and an additional $1 each week for a total of 10 weeks to complete ownership of their Sun King.

"Angaza's innovative technology platform allows customers to buy Sun King™ solar lights through a series of secure mobile payments," added Lesley Silverthorn Marincola, CEO of San Francisco and Nairobi-based Angaza Design. "This ‘pay as you go' technology leverages a cloud-based software system, embedded data transfer hardware and firmware, and an easy-to-use mobile phone application. Following each weekly payment, the platform uses the cellular network to activate the customer's solar device until the next installment is due. If the subsequent payment is not made on time, the device automatically deactivates. This functionality enables remote enforcement of product financing which significantly reduces the servicing costs common to most traditional financing vehicles. After the predetermined schedule of payments is complete, the Sun King Eco Easy Buy is "unlocked" and subsequent energy use is free. Customers experience significant savings over the life of the device compared with typical kerosene expenditures."

Greenlight Planet intends to begin sales of Sun King Eco Easy Buy lights through its proprietary Direct-to-Village direct sales network in mid-January. Successful completion of this pilot will pave the way for a worldwide launch within this channel as well as through strategic channel partnerships.