Off Grid Electric, a solar company, won the Zayed Future Energy Prize in the small-to-medium-sized enterprise category. Founded in 2011 by three college friends, Off Grid Electric (OGE) provides solar kits to Tazanian homes.
OGE micro-leases the solar kits; Tanzanians pre-pay monthly via mobile phone, in turn they receive a solar panel, LED lights, Li-ion battery--which connects to the panel via DC cable for nighttime use.
About 85% of Tanzania's 50 million population do not have electricity, they rely on kerosene, which has adverse health effects.
Chief Executive and Co-Founder Xavier Helgesen noted that "the number one thing that keeps solar from taking off in Africa is that people are expected to pay for a lifetime's energy upfront."
The pay-as-you-go business model is central to integrated solar energy in Tanzania. Vice President of Business Development Graham Smith says, it "gives them local ownership ...that's vital because the things we are trying to solve are vital to them."
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