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News around Africa - Tech - June 9, 2021

Solar Energy Continues to Advance in Rural Kenya

Kenya’s electric grid continues to struggle with the inclusion of rural communities, leaving families clutching for their kerosene lamps and businesses gnashing their teeth at gas bill.

In a move to solve this problem, innovative startups in the East African country are turning to solar energy and other renewable energy sources as a way out.

One of such startups is Pawame, which has just US$1.7 million in grant capital and an additional US$750,000 in equity to fund to reach more rural communities.

Founded in 2016 by Alexandre Allegue, Majd Chaaya and Nick Sparks, Pawame enables citizens of Kenya to access solar home systems via a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) subscription model. The startup also provides micro-loans as a way of faciliting the subscriptions for citizens.

Disrupt Africa reports that the company’s $1.7 million raise comes from Netherlands Enterprise Agency, the Energy and Environment Partnership, SNV, AECF REACT Kenya and the World Bank-backed Kenya Off-Grid Solar Access Project (KOSAP).

The funds will be use to drive the strategic expansion of the company to geographical locations across Kenya and accelerate the development of new products. Pawame wants to reach more African countries and provide solar power for over one million people in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025.

Some of the notable renewable energy companies that are working to improve the rural energy challenge in Kenya are Mkopa – which provides asset financing services including solar lighting, Strauss Energy – which builds roofing tiles with solar cells installed in them, and Tropical Power Energy Group, which built the largest grid-connected biogas plant in Naivasha Kenya.


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