The pay-as-you-go solar home solution that scales with the needs of the off-grid consumer.
Solaris is a modular solar home system with integrated pay-as-you-go technology. It allows the consumer to purchase a 20W system and upgrade it over time up to 200W as their energy needs grow, without replacing the main control unit or replacing the original installation. Solaris is offered with a range of energy efficient appliances, from lighting to clothing irons. The system is paid weekly via mobile money over a period of up to 3 years.
More than 600 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa struggle to access modern energy services and must rely on unhealthy and dangerous energy solutions such as kerosene lighting. Solar home systems provide an extremely promising technology for providing clean energy access, drastically improving livelihoods, education, and standards of living. Yet the current market for solar home systems leaves consumers with a poor product and an inadequate customer experience.
The Solaris pay-as-you-go (PAYG) business model, combined with the innovations made in customer service, hardware, software, and deployment efficiency, enable the company to rapidly build momentum and scale. Solaris hardware is fully modular, when a customer installs an entry level 20W system, for example, they will be able to keep the base system and wiring intact while they add additional panels (up to 200W), batteries, and consumer electronics (TV, fridge, etc.). This modularity allows for a strong relationship to be maintained with clients and makes upgrades much more affordable for them.
The value proposition
The company owns all technology and the Solaris control unit is purpose built using off-the-shelf components, which keeps production costs very low. Most PAYG solutions use GSM technology to reach consumers, but research shows that most rural homes lack a reliable mobile signal making these PAYG solutions irrelevant to the majority of the market. Innovative SMS encryption technology allows the company to collect valuable service data for predictive maintenance, while also reaching households that other technologies can’t reach with a service that requires no data connection fees. The company’s technological innovations extend to its back-end system which enables automated payments and customer care, as well as helping with marketing and distribution operations through lead tracking, stock management, and logistics. This back-end system is also capable of being used without a data signal. Once the system is installed maintenance is minimal.