Solar firm to spend Sh2 billion on product line and expansion

Thursday January 14 2016

M-Kopa Chief Executive Officer Jesse Moore (left) and sales Support Manager Njeri Gikami (centre) explain to a customer how the home solar system functions, in Nairobi on January 14, 2016. The company has raised funds for expansion to Tanzania and Uganda. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

M-Kopa Chief Executive Officer Jesse Moore (left) and sales Support Manager Njeri Gikami (centre) explain to a customer how the home solar system functions, in Nairobi on January 14, 2016. The company has raised funds for expansion to Tanzania and Uganda. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By LILIAN OCHIENG'
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Solar energy firm M-Kopa is set to spend Sh2 billion to diversify its product line in Kenya, as it expands into Tanzania and Uganda.

The company told the Nation on Thursday that the money was raised from an equity round led by London-based Generation Investment Management LLP and others in December.

“We are using the money in a lot of ways spreading our businesses deeper into the region as we diversify our services in Kenya,” said Mr Jesse Moore founder and chief executive of M-Kopa.

“We just launched our new line of business in Kenya, which equips our customers to upgrade their lives in affordable ways.”

Mr Colin le Duc, a partner at Generation Investment Management said in a statement that the money will help spread modern solar appliances to a huge new market.

M-Kopa’s main business concentrates on affordable solar energy to off-grid customers especially in rural areas where a majority are not connected to the mains.

A recent study by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) says that poor Kenyan households spend up to 10 per cent of their monthly income on energy.

M-Kopa saw the gap and has used it to thrive in business.

The firm managed to connect over 280,000 homes across East Africa with solar power and is now strengthening the relationship with these people to equip their houses.

Mr Moore said besides connecting customers, the company has now embarked on building their lives by equipping them with affordable household items.

“We already have over 40,000 Kenyans who have upgraded their lives with our products with some acquiring mobile phones, cooking stoves and television sets,” said Mr Moore. “The customers take the products from M-Kopa and pay over a long period of time at a rate of Sh50 per day.”