Energy for households
Millions of people in Africa rely on kerosene lamps and candles to light their homes; and burn wood on open fires to cook and heat water. This is dangerous, harmful, polluting and expensive. Batteries are widely used to power radios and people often must travel for miles to charge their mobile phones.
We work with companies to develop markets for solar products (small solar lanterns or photovoltaic systems), efficient cookstoves and cleaner fuels.
We support businesses offering financing mechanisms, such as pay-as-you go, or ‘mobile money’ – where customers pay via mobile phones – to increase the affordability of solar power.
In Uganda, we have incentivised solar providers to better serve refugee communities by allowing payment for solar equipment and energy consumption in small instalments, rather than complete up-front investments. These providers have since sold more than 4,100 solar systems in 16 months, helping to create more than 200 local jobs.
To ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable people are not left behind we also collaborate with donors and country governments to test ways of subsidising the poor’s initial purchases in energy access markets and create more affordable and sustainable solutions.
In Kenya, through a UNICEF-funded programme, we helped top up government subsidy payments to 1,600 of the poorest households, enabling 8,000 people to access solar energy.
We also joined forces with EnDev to increase access to efficient modern cookstoves through end-user financing mechanisms for deprived households as well as support local artisans producing improved cookstoves with mentoring, market development activities and financial advice to overcome barriers to capital inflow.