DEAR EDITOR, a Kenyan based company, M-Kopa, has provided over 500,000 homes throughout the rural areas of that country with solar power systems sufficient to light a home, charge a phone and a solar power radio.
The company founded in 2011 was backed with initial investment by Sir Richard Branson, the Founder of the Virgin Group, including Virgin Atlantic Airways and most recently by FinDev, Canada, to the tune of $10 million dollars.
At FinDev Canada provides support to businesses in developing countries, with the aim to create a favourable impact on poverty reduction through job creation, women’s economic empowerment, and climate change action.
The latest M-Kopa 4 has an eight watt solar panel that charges cell phones, a radio and a torch, via USB includes LED bulbs with light switches, as well as a rechargeable LED torch (flashlight) and a radio,
According to the company, part of the business model’s plan is to offset the danger of kerosene (paraffin) lamps to light homes that are off electric grids. The system also helps customers who need to charge batteries and mobile phones.
In Kenya, customers pay a deposit of 3,500 KES (approx $35), take the system home then pay 50 KES (approx $0.50) a day for a period of one year to own the solar system.
As the Solomon Islands still has a need for lighting in many rural homes the M-Kopa system could be a practical lighting solution for many people needing an inexpensive and simple to use solar unit.
Should there be local interest in the product here is the website to facilitate any enquiries. http://www.m-kopa.com.