Over 250,000 Rwandans are going to enjoy the most affordable pricing plan available for solar products in Africa after the shipment of 50,000 Sun KingTMhome systems by Greenlight Planet to Rwanda. The 50,000 Sun KingTMHome systems that will provide safe and clean power are going to be connected and distributed by Ignite Rwanda project as part of the universal access and Rural Electrification National Plan 2024. Sun King™ Home Systems come equipped with the best in class technology, which together with Ignite’s professional and high-quality services will meet the energy needs of rural Rwandans.
Ignite Power is a Pan-African developer and financier of safe clean energy solutions. Ignite solutions are targeted to be as affordable as possible and environmentally friendly, providing nation-scale interventions in a sustainable way.
The New Time’s Joseph Mudingu had a one-on-one with Angela Homsi, Founder at Ignite about Ignite Power’s inception, operations, products and its achievements in Rwanda today.
According to Homsi, Ignite Power Rwanda started operating in Rwanda in 2016, with a target of connecting over 250,000 homes by 2024 using Solar Photovoltaic Systems and currently operates in 316 sectors in Rwanda with a distribution network of over 1,500 Village Agents.
“In the two years, Ignite Power Rwanda has managed to connect over 790,000 people using solar home systems and with support from Rwanda’s Government plan to connect 20% of Rwanda’s population to off-grid power” she explained.
The founder of Ignite Power says that since its inception in June 2016, the company has achieved a lot as far as connecting homes with clean affordable energy and in creating a positive economic impact on people in Rwanda.
“We have so far connected homes in Rwanda nationwide and deep into rural areas, thus contributing to the quality of life by helping people to access affordable and clean energy however far they are. We have also created 115 fulltime jobs to employees who are working in Kigali, 312 people contracted as Sector leaders selling in 312 Sectors in the 30 districts of Rwanda and over 1500 people who are working as Village Agents or Sales Agents in different villages and Cells in all Districts” said Homsi. “Most of these people have finished paying their credit and are no longer investing their money in buying kerosene but in other business to improve their lives” she added.
Which power systems are sold in Rwanda?
According to Homsi, Ignite Power sells different types of systems with good and affordable pricing, making sure that more people benefit from them. “We have a 3-lights system including solar panel, battery, phone charging at the lowest cost in Africa - RWF 3,500 per month, a 4-lights system including solar panel, battery, phone charging and radio at the lowest cost in Africa - RWF 5,000 per month, and a TV and agriculture systems. We offer all these systems on credit and on an affordable payment plan whereby starting at 3,500RWF, you can pay off your System. The payment can be done on mobile money with the local telecommunication companies” explains Homsi.
Why they chose Greenlight Planet
On why they choose Greenlight Planet as a partner, Homsi says Greenlight Planet has sold over 9 million Sun King solar home energy products to off-grid households around the world.
“We have chosen Greenlight as a partner for their high quality, great service and warranty. Greenlight Planet reaches remote, off-grid customers through a unique business model involving a vast network of micro-entrepreneurs, more than 300 global strategic distribution partners, and its proprietary EasyBuy (“pay-as-you-go”) instalment payment technology that makes safe, high-quality solar energy products affordable for all” she said.
However, Homsi says there are some challenges that they encountered in the market while executing their duties including difficulty in mobility of village agents and sector leaders making it difficult to reach as many customers as possible. She also mentions poor network coverage and Mobile Money services.
“In spite of these challenges, Ignite Power Rwanda continues to provide strategic resources for example through smart mobility plans, providing motorbikes and bicycles to district staff in order to ease mobility around the districts and reach everyone, everywhere. We also developed a universal financial payment platform as in some of the off-grid areas the network hinders customers from making payments and therefore hindering them from accessing light especially with the Easy Buy customers. We have empowered sectors leaders in such areas with MoMo services in order to ensure that everybody has light. A new Ignite USSD Payment Method *985# has been approved and launched to improve on the customer experience”, she explained.
About what has made them succeed
According to Homsi, Ignite Power Rwanda has a good collaboration with local leaders especially on the village level (Umudugudu Chiefs) that support in awareness campaigns and sensitisation of the communities on the need to use clean energy solutions.
“We have launched campaigns like the REF program for SACCOs with Rwanda Energy Group and BDF in Nyanza District, Nyaruguru District and Nyamagabe District in September 2018.
Ignite Power Rwanda has also collaborated with REG to provide clean energy solutions to over 15,000 Rwandans in the Ubudehe 1 category all over Rwanda.
“This has greatly helped in creating awareness for the use of safe and clean energy solutions for the Rwandan People, and is true to our vision of leaving no one behind” says Homsi.
Ignite Power Rwanda’s long term plan is to provide safe access to clean energy solutions to everyone, everywhere. Ignite Power Rwanda does this through increased government collaboration aimed at creating awareness of the use of renewable solar home systems in off-grid areas in Rwanda.
Ignite Power Rwanda will always play a significant role in the Rural Electrification Strategy aiming to provide light to over 20% of Rwanda’s off grid population by 2024 and there by supporting the GoR in attaining 100% electrification of Rwanda on both grid and off-grid solutions in the same year. This would greatly impact on the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy, and SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth..