Startup helps off-grid communities purchase clean energy

Globally, off-grid villages have few reliable energy sources. People throughout the world rely on solar products donated from non-profit organizations—which are not guaranteed indefinitely—or resort to purchasing expensive and unclean energy like kerosene, due to a lack of investment capital for cleaner energy. Angaza, a San Francisco startup, seeks to facilitate the purchase of clean energy by off-grid communities at affordable rates.

Angaza has a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) system in which a person can make a small down payment of under $5 to take a pico-solar device home. The solar device has a meter that measures energy usage against the original payment, and shuts off automatically when the paid amount of energy has been used up. At that point, the user can make a mobile payment to reactivate their device, or sign up for a weekly payment of roughly $1-$2 until they pay it off (in usually under a year).

Angaza’s initial target region is West Africa, where a majority of adults own mobile devices. USAID is funding Angaza’s field research on the PAYG system in rural Tanzania. Angaza will also be partnering with SunnyMoney, the top distributor of pico-solar products in Africa. Angaza collects a percentage of transaction fees as well as licensing fees from manufacturing companies that use its embedded technology.

CEO Lesley Marincola completed her B.S. and M.S. at in Product Design and Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University, then went on to work on Amazon Kindle’s design team.

Article via TechCrunch and USAID, 23 October 2015

Photo: Solar Energy via itstonyhaha [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]