M-KOPA connects 500,000th East African home to off-grid solar



For about $200, paid in daily installments of 50 cents, M-KOPA customers can replace dirty and expensive kerosene with clean sun-fueled energy.

That enables children to do their homework, shops to stay open at night, and individuals to save the cost of charging their mobile phones at the village kiosk.

The five-year-old startup says it has now connected a half-million East African households to off-grid solar systems. This translates to 62.5 million hours of kerosene-free lighting per month and savings of more than 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide over four years, the company says.

More broadly, M-KOPA is pioneering asset-backed lending to the poor (see ImpactAlpha’s, “Banking on the Poor”). Of the 250,000 Kenyan credit scores the company has reported, 92 percent are positive (loans have been repaid or in good standing).

M-KOPA is backed by bold-faced impact investors, including Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management, Grey Ghost Ventures, LGT Venture Philanthropy, the Gates Foundation, Richard Branson, Jean and Steve Case, Lundin Foundation, Treehouse Investments, and the Blue Haven Initiative.

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