PAYGO Solar for Nairobi Slums

Help finance solar lighting and cell phone charging for 1,000 entrepreneurs

Project Update (as of 3/21/13)

This is an update for the project formerly called "Pay-As-You-Go Solar for Mwanza".

Due to distribution challenges, our project with Angaza has shifted locations from Tanzania to Kenya, where it is estimated 75% of households use kerosene as their main lighting fuel. Technology, implementation partners (IPA, SunnyMoney) and the project economics remain the same. The 1000 units will now be deployed through SunnyMoney's retail agents located in peri-urban slums near the Nairobi city center; including Wangige, Kikuyu, Waithaka, Uthiru, Mutuini and Riruta (participating retail agents are shown in the map below). While the grid extends to these regions, many small businesses are unable to afford connection and usage fees and therefore are unable to extend business hours past sunset, and/or use dangerous and inefficient lighting sources such as kerosene. Angaza will specifically target customers who are small business owners with permanent/semi-permanent stalls, stands, or shops and who are unable to afford connection to the electric grid.

Revised Project Impact (as of 3/21/13)

Project Summary

Our company, Angaza Design will use this $15,000 loan to facilitate the manufacturing and sales of 1000 Solar Home Systems to small-scale entrepreneurs and their families in the Mwanza region of Tanzania. The $15,000 loan covers more than 1/3 of our manufacturing costs, with the balance being funded by ourselves.  The sales will take place through our distribution partner, SunnyMoney. Our target customers are small-scale entrepreneurs who run businesses such as road-side fruit kiosks, and whose income generation potential and ability to pull themselves out of poverty is hampered by lack of access to clean, affordable lighting and mobile phone charging.

Angaza Business Overview

Although our off-grid, rural customers spend a significant portion of their family income on energy needs, their income is often irregular and they can’t afford the high up-front cost of a quality alternative energy product. Our Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) technology makes solar available to all by allowing our customers to pay for clean energy at their own pace, using cash-in-hand. Our customers send us energy payments of the size of their choice via mobile money platforms (e.g., MPESA), and their solar unit (the Angaza SoLite) is then activated for a proportional amount of energy output. When they’ve paid the full price of the product, the SoLite is permanently “unlocked” and our customers get free, clean, reliable energy for the remaining life of the unit.

To date, our customers in Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia have enthusiastically embraced the pay-per-use model, and demand for the SoLite has far exceeded supply.  Our customers are saving hundreds of dollars over the life of the unit compared with their status quo kerosene and mobile-charging purchases.

Project Impact (please see revised version above)

It is estimated that only 15% of Tanzania’s households have access to grid electricity, leaving 7.1 million off-grid, mostly rural, households in the dark. The incumbent energy solution, kerosene, is dangerous, expensive and contributes to more deaths globally than malaria. Kerosene provides minimal light and cannot charge small appliances such as mobile phones. As a result, in order to charge their cell phones, rural Tanzanians often travel for many hours and pay high prices at charging kiosks run off the grid or diesel generators. 

* A family can pay off its solar light in less than 1 year. After year 1, they free up income that otherwise would have been spent on kerosene, to invest in other necessities such as food, health and education. Furthermore, studies estimate a 15-30% increase in economic productivity when switching from kerosene to electric lighting.

** Conservative estimate assuming each family has only 1 kerosene lantern.

Meet an Angaza customer, Stephano

Stephano is a farmer who grows and sells a wide array of fruits, vegetables, and grains depending on what’s in season. He relies on his cell phone for business and is acutely aware of the dangerous effects of kerosene fumes on his childrens’ health, so he was eager to switch to the Angaza SoLite for both phone charging and clean light. He loved the idea of being able to pay for the SoLite at his own pace, and then use the energy for free once he had paid off his “debt”.  He pays in larger or smaller amounts depending on how well his business is doing at a particular time, and he said he couldn’t believe he was able to buy clean, reliable energy at a cheaper price than kerosene. He has recently begun selling crushed grains as flour, and has been able to work on packaging this new product at night after his children go to bed using the bright light of the SoLite.

Project Technology

SoLite3: The SoLite3 is a 3-watt, extremely bright (200 lumens), disperse room light that can be mounted permanently to the ceiling or used portably with an attached wire hanger. It includes mobile charging capability and has PAYG integration. 

With your help, we can enhance the livelihoods of communities in Mwanza by bringing them renewable, affordable and high quality lighting systems.

Thank you for your support,

Lesley, Bryan and Tori

(The Team at Angaza)

100% Funded

By 91 People

$0 to go

out of $15,000 Target

This project is fully funded!


Angaza is combining human-centered design with innovative technology to reshape the global energy market. Angaza’s Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) technology tears down the up-front cost barrier to solar power. With Angaza, customers buy energy with their cell phone, as they need it. Angaza was recently crowned a 2012 Laureate by the Applied Materials' Tech Awards.

Other Partners

This project is being implemented in partnership with:

Innovations for Poverty Action

MIT - Sloan School of Management



Term: 12 months

Payment dates: Quarterly

Interest rate: Principal repayment only

Impact points: Equivalent to 3.5% annual interest

Repayment Date Status
1 June 2013 Repaid
2 September 2013 Repaid
3 December 2013 Repaid
4 March 2014 Repaid


The solar technology will now be deployed in peri-urban slums near the Nairobi city center; including Wangige, Kikuyu, Waithaka, Uthiru, Mutuini and Riruta.

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