NOTS Solar Lamps to invest $70 million in solar home systems manufacturing in Rwanda

NOTS Solar Lamps, in cooperation with the Government of Rwanda, has announced an agreement to speed up the process of supplying energy to low-income households in Rwanda.

NOTS will spend $70 million (~$4.79 billion) over a five- year period in a solar home system production unit.This plant will be a first of its kind in Africa and will be accompanied by a microloan loan scheme and marketing infrastructure.

“NOTS will make electricity more affordable, more available, and much more reliable than kerosene lamps and phone charging kiosks. That’s how we’ll solve Rwanda’s electricity challenge,” says Bart Hartman, NOTS’ chief executive, and impact entrepreneur.

“Subsequently we’ll use this blueprint to tackle Africa’s electricity crisis which – despite the efforts of governments and NGOs – has hardly improved in the last ten years,” he added.

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Solar home systems are an significant component in rural electrification, eradication of poverty, and improvement  of quality of life in developing nations. The United Nations and the World Bank have allocated these systems for this purpose. The plant will create a’ Multimax’ solar home system at a price of $56, making it cost-effective for lowest-income households. In exchange, the Government of Rwanda will buy 100,000 units for $5.6 million.

Half of low-wage farming families have little to no access to electricity, according to the Rwandan Energy Group. NOTS has an agenda to generate and sell 900,000 solar systems in Rwanda over the next four years. This could  offer 4.2 million people access to energy. Export plans require an additional one million units per year to be  exported to the remainder of Africa.

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NOTS is experimenting with a Rwandan customer sales and finance model. These families can use the microloan scheme to purchase the devices. Repayment will take place in 100 fixed, weekly payments. The full price of the credit value included is $60. Weekly repayment is less than how much a family spends on kerosene lighting and mobile phone charging kiosks. Payment choices are digital credit checks and instant payments via mobile phones and mobile money accounts. NOTS has a tie-up for trial in three counties with Airtel Money Rwanda.

125 million households on the African mainland have no access to energy. NOTS aims to provide these nearly 600  million individuals with electricity by 2025.

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Earlier, the World Bank provided a $150 million International Development Association (IDA) grant. This, coupled with a $74.7 million contingent rehabilitation grant from the Clean Technology Fund, is anticipated to help establish off-grid electrification for individuals in West Africa and the Sahel region.

Due to greater market penetration of solar off- grid products, the percentage of individuals with access to solar power has risen. This was revealed for the second half of 2018 in the recent Global Off-Grid Solar Market Report released by the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA).


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