ACUMEN ENTREPRENEURS BUILD SOLUTIONS TO THE TOUGHEST CHALLENGES FACING THE POOR
Soluna Energía is a company that offers a solar energy service for rural homes without connection to the energy grid in Colombia through photovoltaic kits and a “pay-as-you-go” methodology.
Although Colombia is relatively well electrified, with a rate above 95%, this figure hides regional differences. Electrification rates for rural areas decrease to 83%, which means that around 495,000 households do not have access to energy. In addition, around 500,000 homes have electricity powered by diesel generators, which are an expensive and unreliable alternative, with very few having 24-hour service.
Soluna contributes solving this problem by offering households different levels of solar system services based on their energy needs and ability to pay. Soluna users pay a small upfront fee to install the solar power system which includes a solar panel installed in their backyard or the roof, and activated by a unique access code, as well as a box containing a battery bank, controller, inverter and all the electronics and electrical installation necessary to connect a variety of home appliances and devices. Users can purchase access codes per hour, per day, per week or per month, depending on the type of service they wish to use and enter them in their “Colibrí” meter, which contains a keyboard and a screen that tells families their balance and their daily consumptions.
In 2020, Soluna installed 118 solar systems in homes in Vichada department and in an area of the country that is not only off-grid but also has one of the lowest rural electrification rates (below 6% ).