ACUMEN ENTREPRENEURS BUILD SOLUTIONS TO THE TOUGHEST CHALLENGES FACING THE POOR
West Africa has one of the world’s fastest growing populations, yet only 42% have access to energy, leaving more than 110 million without electricity. Without a grid in place, especially in rural areas where electricity access is only 8%, per capita electricity consumption rates are some of the lowest in the world.
Solar home systems have made tremendous progress in the last decade, but most of the capital and companies have focused on East Africa. Fewer than 10 institutional investors have funded companies in West Africa, mainly because it’s a largely unknown territory where many low-income people are unbanked, have no assets and credit history. What’s more, penetration of mobile money, an essential payment tool for pay-as-you-go solar home systems, is comparatively low, making it hard for solar businesses difficult to operate.
PEG provides solar home systems on credit to off-grid households across West Africa. Based in Ghana, the company uses a pay-as-you-go financing model and a suite of digital repayment tools to enable its low-income customers—70% of whom have never used mobile money—to pay for their system and gain full ownership over time.
PEG’s business model focuses on best-in-class customer service and retaining and rewarding its agent network to build trust internally and with customers. PEG is also committed to continuously evolving its mobile money platform to accommodate its low-income customers.
Less than a third of West Africans have a bank account and many of PEG’s customers are completely shut out of the banking sector due to their low incomes. By providing its solar home systems on credit, PEG is helping to build a credit history for its customers. After 12 months of payment, PEG customers own their system, enabling them to save roughly $1,000—money they would’ve spent on kerosene, candles, batteries—over the life of the device.
PEG has sold more than 16,000 pay-as-you-go solar home systems and counting. PEG’s network of agents and service centers operates in rural areas of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire with plans to expand across West Africa.