A Rwandan family is doing its usual evening chores using headlamps as a source of light. However, something has changed: Instead of disposable batteries, the lamps now operate with solar power.
Nuru Energy made clean energy available to more than 100 000 households in the Rwandan countryside in 2014–2016. The secret of the success lies in a model based on shared consumption. Under the model, local small entrepreneurs own a charge point operated with solar or kinetic energy and other residents of the village can purchase energy generated in the charge point. When not all residents need to purchase an expensive solar panel, sustainable energy is accessible to more users.
Nuru also sold rechargeable LED lamps at a price that was substantial below the normal price. This meant that 80 per cent of the families could afford them. Rest of the market price of the lamps was covered from the revenue generated by the charge point. LED lamps and mobile phones are some of the devices that can be recharged at the point. Nuru received support from the energy and environment partnership EEP funded by Finland. Between 2010–2017 EEP has provided clean energy for over 900 000 households in Southern Africa.
Photo: Nuru Energy, graphics: Juho Hiilivirta