Rent-to-Own a Solar Light

Finance this rent-to-own model that makes solar affordable to all

This is the third project in the SunFunder-smallsolutions partnership to bring solar powered lighting and phone charging to rural communities in Uganda.



  • A $20,000 loan will help 900 members of local farmer's savings group to purchase solar lights through a rent-to-own model.
  • Each member will enroll in a 12-month rental period and pay a rental fee of US$1.40 a week (3,500 Shillings). At the end of the rental period, members will own the solar lights and panels and enjoy clean, hassle-free lighting at no cost.

The solar product that will be rented out is the Sun King Pro. The projected impact from Sun King Pro:




To make solar energy products affordable to a broader segment of Ugandan off-grid households, smallsolutions is offering to sell its solar products on a rent to own basis. Their primary customers are currently members of farmer's savings groups. The rent to own model allows customers who can't afford an upfront cash payment to pay for their solar device over time while stopping kerosene use immediately.

Kerosene is the primary fuel of choice for lighting in Ugandan off-grid households and families can spend from US$0.13-0.27 per day (350-700 Shillings) on kerosene for lighting. For telephone charging there is no traditional fuel alternative and charging centers can cost up to US$0.20 (500 Shillings) per telephone charge. In a two-phone household, these costs can be as high as US$0.80 (2,000 Shillings) per week. By renting a solar lighting and phone charging device, all these costs are reduced to a flat rate of $0.20 a day, or 500 Shillings, and is no longer too expensive to obtain.


Farmer's group members will be provided the lanterns and charging pins, but not solar panels. Instead, central charging stations with the solar panels will be set up in close proximity to members, and station managers will be hired to facilitate device charging. This way, daily rental fees can be collected regularly and simultaneously with charging activity—a convenient and effective way to collect payment. This also ensures quick identification of defective products, speeding up the process for aftersales service. This approach to a rent-to-own model has been successful since its pilot earlier this year: 92% of all pilot farmer's group members are either current or ahead on their rental payments. 



The Sun King Pro defines the industry's gold standard in affordable solar-powered lanterns with mobile-phone charging capability.

  • 10 times brighter than a kerosene lamp
  • 30 hours of light on one day’s charge
  • 5 years battery life
  • Charges mobile phones

100% Funded

By 208 People

$0 to go

out of $20,000 Target

This project is fully funded!


smallsolutions Technology Consultants is a Uganda-based social enterprise providing renewable energy and human development solutions at the grassroots level in East Africa. While smallsolutions started as a non-profit organization, it soon realized that in order to meet customer demand it should shift towards a commercially-oriented model and take control of its growth. Still, the company can't always meet the huge demand it faces for solar solutions from the communities it serves. This is where you come in!


Repayment term: 12 months

Repayment schedule: every 3 months

Interest rate: principal repayments only

Impact points: equivalent to 3.5% annual interest rate

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


smallsolutions is implementing its rent-to-own finance model in Kayunga district with a regional farmer's association. The farmer's groups have a maximum of 30 members each, and their goal is to promote savings and provide a means of local credit for their members to make capital purchases during the year. smallsolutions expects to reach over 60 groups by the end of the year that will benefit from this solar rental program.

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