M-KOPA, which provides ‘pay-as-you-go’ energy solutions to off grid homes, has launched a solar-powered digital flat screen TV available on various M-PESA payment plans. The solar-powered TV sets are meant to enable millions of Kenyans achieve their dream of TV ownership.
According to the Kenya Audience Research Foundation 2015 establishment data, TV only reaches 31 per cent of the adult population on a daily basis. This leaves 69 per cent of adults in the ‘dark’, who either lack access to power or simply cannot afford a TV set.
M-KOPA’s own customer research shows that over 80 per cent of M-KOPA customers are very interested in acquiring solar TV, with the primary reason being so that their families can learn more about the world.
Jesse Moore, CEO at M-KOPA says: “Owning a TV is life-changing for our off-grid customers. Many of them have traditionally had to pay to watch in a café or bar, or missed out on news and current events because they could not afford to be connected to information. We are now going beyond the grid to offer TV to homes all over Kenya. It’s great for the family to be able to watch together in the comfort and safety of their home.”
Customers who have finished paying off their M-KOPA payment plans are now able to extend their Kshs 50 per day payment plan to upgrade to the “M-KOPA + TV” system. M-KOPA has already started upgrading its best performing customers and expects to make M-KOPA + TV available to tens of thousands before the end of the year. Customers with good credit standing with M-KOPA will receive a phone call or SMS to advise them when they become eligible to upgrade. After completing the 2-year payment plan, customers own the television and solar power system outright and can enjoy viewing without any ongoing bills.
Moore stated: “What’s remarkable about the M-KOPA + TV is that it enables customers to turn the same Kshs 50 per day that they used to burn on kerosene into a solar powered TV. We are literally turning dirty fossil fuels into a renewable, digital, modern home.”
The M-KOPA 400, a new 20W solar home system, is now also available in selected service centres. It includes a 20W PV panel, a 16” digital TV, two lights, a torch, a phone charger, and a radio and is available for a deposit plus a year of daily payments of Kshs 125.
Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom, said: “M-PESA and Safaricom are helping make digital TV affordable and accessible for the first time for millions of people. I think M-KOPA’s innovation signals a fundamental change for TV audiences in Kenya. We creating the genesis of a new economy based on clean energy that promises to include groups who have been previously marginalised.”
M-KOPA is on track to connect a million homes to its solar systems by the end of 2017.
M-KOPA has partnered with Safaricom since 2010 on technology development and distribution in Kenya. And solar home systems, with TV, will be available in Safaricom retail outlets from mid-2016.
Lucas Ochieng, an M-KOPA customer from Kisumu says, “It’s great to be able to turn on a light, charge my phone and listen in on my favorite radio show. But I always wanted to own a TV set, watch the latest news and have my wife catch her soap operas. We are thrilled that M-KOPA is offering a product that we have been longing to own.”
M-KOPA has developed a better way to provide affordable, safe and clean energy to billions of people living off the grid. Thanks to the sun’s rays and mobile technology, customers can light up their homes, charge their phones, tune into the radio and turn on the television. They can do all this at the flick of a switch and for less than they used to spend on kerosene.