A Bold New Partnership with Pay-As-You-Go Technology to Boost Productivity in Mini-Grid Communities across Sierra Leone
3 June 2021, Freetown — Easy Solar has partnered with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and Winch Energy to launch a new “Tay Go” line of grid-powered appliances in four solar mini-grid communities which are Rokonta, Musaia, Bafodia, and Sinkunia from the Bomabali, Falaba and Koinadugu Districts.
The pilot communities are part of the Rural Renewable Energy Project (RREP) which was developed to provide clean energy access in rural communities across Sierra Leone. The project is funded by the United Kingdom, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and implemented by UNOPS on behalf of the Ministry of Energy (MoE) also provides access to basic services such as improved health care, education, and income generation within the communities. The expected outcome of this project is to provide 4 megawatts of sustainable renewable electricity in rural communities whilst strengthening and supporting productive use of the electricity in the 95 mini-grid areas.
After the installation of the mini-grids, Winch Energy wanted the communities to enjoy the benefits of off-grid electricity other than the basic use of providing light. Easy Solar was contracted to:
- Provide productive use and energy-efficient appliances to households and SMEs in the mini-grid catchment areas using an affordable pay-as-you-go line of credit
- Expand Easy Solar’s distribution network to ensure easy accessibility of products
- Raise awareness for the existence of high-quality productive use and energy efficient appliances suitable for the mini-grid catchment areas, thereby increasing the overall demand for electricity so that the mini-grid installation can be viable.
‘’Partnership is an important step in leveraging the strengths of both pay-go companies and mini-grids to build an ecosystem around energy provision. Easy Solar is driving up demand for Winch’s mini-grids sites by offering energy-efficient appliances that can generate income for these communities. We’re making them affordable through credit facilities facilitated by pay-go technology” says Nthabi Mosia, Chief Commercial Officer at Easy Solar.
The members of the four communities (Rokonta, Musaia, Bafodia, and Sinkunia), where these Tay Go appliances have been launched, welcomed the idea as the products have long-term payment plans and can generate income. The Tay Go products consist of a freezer, a 32-inch TV, and a fan. All products are energy efficient and have inbuilt batteries, which allow continued usage when grid power is interrupted. The freezer is equipped with an inbuilt ice battery and keeps items cold for three days without power, two USB ports for charging, 2 LED bulbs, and a three-year warranty. The TVs are also equipped with an inbuilt battery, allowing 10 hours of usage after a full charge plus two years warranty. The fan comes with an inbuilt battery that stores power for up to eight hours after a full charge and a one-year warranty.
Easy Solar will continue to work with the RREP to make products available that would improve the economies of communities. With positive results from this project, Easy Solar will have the necessary information to replicate in dozens of other solar mini-grid communities all across the country. Indeed, this is a core part of Easy Solar’s vision to make energy, financial services, and life-improving products affordable and accessible for all.
About Easy Solar
Easy Solar enhances the lives of people across West Africa by distributing solar energy solutions and other transformative durable goods. The company makes these affordable through a range of flexible financing options, empowered by pay-as-you-go technology and mobile money, and accessible through an extensive network of agents and shops. Learn more at www.easysolar.org and Easy Solar
UNOPS helps the UN and its partners provide peace and security, humanitarian and development solutions. Their mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve peace and sustainable development. Their services cover infrastructure, project management, procurement, financial management and human resources. Learn more at www.acumen.org and on Twitter UNOPS
About Winch Energy
Winch Energy is a global, off-grid renewable energy developer, operator and technology integrator. Through its Remote Power Unit, the “RPU”, it provides a “three utility” solution for the 1.2 billion people around the World without access to Electricity, Internet or Water. Learn more at www.winchenergy.com and @winchenergyltd