Financing household investment in solar power in Rwanda

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I saw this advertisement today on the road from Kigali to Rubengera and asked the person I was travelling with what they mean by “Prepaid Energy”.

Apparently this company (like others) provides people off the electricity grid with solar PV on their building. The system gives enough power to light a whole home, plus one charging point that can also support a TV or radio, perhaps a tablet but not a PC.

The system will only provide energy if the customer pays in advance, a month at a time. It is a way to get electricity to people who can’t afford a single payment up-front. In some models people become the owner of the system in the end, in others they always “rent”. It is a commercial operation; the cost of the system is +/- €100.

If something like this can work in Rwanda why can’t it work (also for energy efficiency) in Europe? Because the value to a household of moving from no-electric-light to light is greater than the incremental value of the improvements that clean energy brings households in Europe?

Published by

Paul Hodson

Head of Unit "EnergyEfficiency" at European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy

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