Innovation That Matters

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Financing for solar power and smartphones in Africa

Agriculture & Energy

A company is making solar power affordable for many in Africa with a pay-as-you-go model for solar energy kits and smartphones

Spotted: Africa faces numerous infrastructure challenges, and limited availability of electricity and smartphone access rank highly among these. To address this, solar energy adoption has dramatically increased in recent years and solar energy kits have become the most common medium for electrifying homes. However, these kits remain unaffordable for many.

Startup Yellow was founded to close this electricity access gap in sub-Saharan Africa. Initially launched in Malawi in 2018, Yellow offers complete pay-as-you-go home solar systems, along with consumer electronics like mobile phone chargers and radios.

Yellow has grown quickly. As of June 2021, the company had electrified 81,919 houses and expanded to Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, and Madagascar. It has also added products like smartphone financing and a system of local agents.

The company has recently raised $14 million (around €12.7 million) in a series B funding round led by Convergence Partners, for a total funding to date of $45 million (around €40.7 million). The financing will be used to help it expand coverage in sub-Saharan African markets.

Expanding electricity access in Africa is the impetus behind a number of recent innovations. In the archive, Springwise has spotted a pay-as-you-drive scheme for electrifying privately-owned buses and solar-powered refrigerated containers with flexible pricing options.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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