Updated Apr 03, 2018

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PoaPower - Affordable solar home energy

PoaPower is an off-grid Solar Energy Utility Provider which enables the purchase of Solar Energy on a metered basis in amounts as small or as irregular as a customer likes. PoaPower installs a Home Power Station in customers homes.

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Andrew Tanswell

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Stage 4: Transition to Scale

Following a successful pilot (proof of concept) with 100 customers, PoaPower now intends to expand throughout Kenya. The aim is to increase our install base to 3,000 units in 2018, followed by a further 15,000 units in 2019.

Registered as a For-Profit in Kenya.

Focus Areas:

Energy Service, Metering & Payment Systems, Solar and Climate Change and Resilience

Energy Service, Metering & Payment Systems, Solar and Climate Change and ResilienceSEE LESS

Implemented In:



Country Implemented In
Funds Raised to Date
Verified Funding


In Kenya alone, 6 million households (70% of the population) lack access to electricity because the grid does not extend to their homes. Demand through-out Sub-Saharan Africa remains almost totally unmet with no expectation of grid-supplied electricity and a huge market for emerging off-grid energy providers.This is due to a fundamental problem which creates a barrier for consumers: affordability. Despite new market innovations the most affordable solution remains the purchase of kerosene.



We have developed and field-tested an innovative solar home system that provides power as a utility for off-grid homes whilst providing a grid-like experience. Consumers pay for the power they use, via mobile money, in values as small as $0.10, enabling access to solar energy at prices comparable to kerosene ($0.35-$0.50 per night). Our service overcomes the issue of affordability and the need for flexibility of payment amount and timing of payment.

Target Beneficiaries

PoaPower focuses on consumers living in developing countries - they live on as little as a dollar a day (Bottom of the economic Pyramid (BOP)). There are 6 million home in Kenya who lack access to grid-delivered electricity. They use candles or kerosene lamps to light their homes; such lamps provide poor quality light; are expensive to use; produce noxious fumes (causing lung infection and disease); and thousands of people (many of whom are children) suffer from burns after lamps catch fire.

Mission and Vision

Vision: An Africa where every home is powered and lit by affordable clean energy on demand.

Mission: To create brighter, safer and healthier homes through the supply of flexible and affordable solar energy.

Aims: Improve health by replacing kerosene lamps in the home; reduce CO2 emissions through the displacement of kerosene; improve study time through the provision of light; create decent jobs and economic opportunity.

Innovation Description

The HPS is a device made of a control Box (288Wh), 3 bright LED lights and wall switches and a high-capacity PowerPack which stores the energy. To provide power to the system a solar panel is connected to the customer's home, constantly charging the internal battery. It also includes various power outlets including USB 12V, and 240V AC (enabling the powering of devices including mobile phones, fans, TVs, lamps, laptops or even 12v car appliances), a portable flashlight and FM radio frequency.

The HPS's are installed in homes after consumers pay a small ($5) commitment fee. Consumers then pre-pay PoaPower for their energy using a mobile money platform (M-Pesa use is widespread in Kenya) in whatever amount they chose, even as little as 10 KSH ($0.10). PoaPower then sends back an automated SMS message to the consumer’s phone containing a unique ‘Energy Credit’ code. After entering the code into the Control Box an amount of energy is made available commensurate to the amount of credit bought. The Home Power Station turns on all power outlets allowing the customer to play the radio; turn off and on the lights; and plug in any assortment of devices to their power outlets. Once the energy credits are consumed the system turns all outlets off (the consumer receives automated reminders prior to this occurring). As soon as a new Energy Credit code is entered, the Power Station turns on all outlets again.

Competitive Advantage

Key advantages to consumers are:

- Provision of abundant electrical energy in off-grid areas
- Low threshold up-front payment of $5 and superior levels of service once purchased
- Payment for energy used, not for the equipment installed (no burdensome debt obligations or risk or breakage/ theft).
- Typical savings of 33% of their current energy expenditure when using our power
- Lower energy costs than current alternatives (kerosene/ batteries)
- 'On-grid' experience including 230V AC supply, high-capacity system, lights with wall switches
- Convenient and flexible method for payment
- Fitted with tampering protections
- Able to facilitate audio messages for customer support or marketing
- Scaleable, as power demand and capacity to pay increases, the system can be scaled
- Attractive, status building
- Easily installed equipment
- Ability to earn energy credits or income through the promotion or sales via personal networks

Planned Goals and Milestones

Equipped with learnings from our successful pilot PoaPower is now looking to expand to 3,000 customers within Kenya in 2018, and requires $1.3m in funding to do so. A further $3.5m is required to grow expand 15,000 units after which no further financial input is required. PoaPower will then be able to expand by 25,000 unites a year from its free cash flow.

A smaller version of the HPS will be developed and supplied to customers with the lowest levels of expenditure.
Funding Goal1,300,000
New FeatureExpansion within geographic regions in Kenya


Oct 2017
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
Pilot completed successfully
Jul 2016
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
Pilot Commences
Dec 2012
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
Feasibility Assessments completed
Mar 2013
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In