While solar technologies are cost-effective in the long run, the high initial installation costs are out of reach for most of Africa’s rural communities. To counter this, solar companies have developed innovative financial mechanisms to make the technologies affordable, including the Pay As You Go (PayGo) model, which allows the customer to buy the systems in instalments after making an initial deposit.
According to GOGLA, the association for the off-grid solar industry, around 25-30 million people gained energy access with PayGo models between 2015 and 2020. Currently, over 40% of all sales of off-grid solar lighting products in Sub Saharan Africa are conducted through PayGo, reaching almost 50% in Kenya and 65% in Rwanda.
A study by 60 Decibels that surveyed over 5,000 PayGo home solar customers, showed that although the pandemic had a significant impact on incomes and household finances, they continued to value their solar products highly. Nearly 70% reported their systems contributed to a ‘very much’ improved quality of life, compared to the pre-COVID-19 benchmark of 54%.