This Mobile Platform is Bringing Solar to Millions in Poverty

Unreasonable Media teamed up with Mass FX Media to bring Angaza’s story to life. The development of Angaza’s platform gives millions without access to clean energy the opportunity to purchase affordable, off-grid solar systems—removing harmful health conditions caused by burning traditional fuels, like wood and coal.

Angaza Design is a Pay-As-You-Go solar technology development company focused on emerging markets, including Sub-Saharan Africa and India. Angaza’s platform enables distributors of off-grid energy products, like solar lighting systems, to offer installment pricing—affordable amounts spread over time—to dramatically increase their customer base.

Pay-As-You-Go solar technology and big data is reaching the billion beyond the grid Tweet This Quote

By removing the upfront price barrier of clean energy products, millions of off-grid customers can replace kerosene dependence with solar lighting and battery charging. Additionally, Angaza leverages usage and diagnostic data collected from every Pay-As-You-Go unit sold to help distributors optimize sales and operations, lower after-sales support costs, and understand customer credit risk.

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  • I love their idea of providing renewable energy to people on the basis of pay-as-you-go instead of through contracts and bills, which many people on earth cannot afford to do. It is supplying energy in a way it can be accessible to everyone.

  • I really like the idea of pay as you go. It gives consumers more opportunity and more options. It’s important to take into consideration costs and credit risk.

  • I think the idea of providing clean energy to those off the grid who do not have access is an incredible idea! Those who go without energy daily are at a true disadvantage! However, my only concern with the concept from what I have seen is that there needs to be a form of payment available locally for those who can utilize the products. For example, I understand that there is a mobile platform that allows individuals to pay, but what about the issue of not having banking locally, what about those who do not have access to internet technology, what about those who do not even know about these services? From the previous articles and videos posted on this site, I think it would be interesting for the company to set up local payment booths in the communities that provide jobs to the locals and provide an off grid solution for payments. I think there also needs to be a payment system that eliminates cash usage in order to remotely enable the products to activate and deactivate. I also believe there needs to be some sort of maintenance system available for locals, and a method by which locals will find a need to switch from traditional methods such as lanterns. I genuinely like the idea, I just felt that the video lacked to explain how some of the prevalent issues of off grid living need to be incorporated into how the system operates, is financed, and is ultimately sustainable for the people!

    As a side note, I wonder what this system does for other entrepreneurs who provide low cost tools for off grid living such as: Is this an example of where entrepreneurs should work together because they both have key insights into the local communities needs and are currently operating there? I think entrepreneurs should be aware of one another and mutually work together and with locals to determine the best solutions.

  • The purpose of this site is to encourage thoughtful insights and ideas about the topics to foster quality discussions (both in agreement and disagreement) . I know not everyone is invested in the ideas, but I think I speak for some when I ask that you please provide more insight into your ideas. I am not trying to be disrespectful, because I do sometimes agree with the points you do make, so please do not take it the wrong way. I would just like to read more into your ideas and insights into the issues, and not just generalized information. Thanks!

  • This is a smart, efficient, and helpful way for people who cannot afford solar power on the regular. I do wonder how the payment works though.

  • A pay as you go system could be more affordable, but I do question its application and effectiveness to something like energy consumption. I would hate to miss a payment and have the lights turned out until I send in my check. This opens the idea of credit and debt. Can this be sustainable?

  • This innovative solution can be a game changer in many third-world countries. If we can help millions of people all over the world, we are helping humanity greatly by providing solar energy to millions of homes. The pay-as-you go method will be reliable, efficient, and easy to monitor since it will manually keep track of which homes are making payments on their electricity. My only concern is that I wish that the payments are inexpensive, that way families can still have money for food, water, and other household necessities. Overall I love this idea because we are breaking away from traditional forms of energy and bringing in a new innovative way to keep families warm and safe.

  • The link below goes to a video about much the same issue, but he talks about how he brought solar to Tanzania. The biggest problem they associated with bringing sole was the way you bought it. These consumers were used to going and picking up kerosene and bringing it back to their house. They did the same thing with solar so the switch would follow something that they and their family have done forever. I wish that I had this tech in my house, but I’m used to paying for things over my phone and computer. How can this be adapted to the daily lifestyle of people already so that there is no difficulty with transferring to phone payments from home and credit based systems?

  • I love the idea of pay-as-you-go because, like you said, it will be efficient: imagine if everyone was so conscious of the energy their household uses that they made a conscious effort to keep it to just the necessary amount–this mentality would be ideally adopted globally with all sources of energy to conserve a lot overall. Although it is unfortunate that the payments are not the cheapest, it raises consumer awareness as to how much is needed versus how much energy is desired. The US is a perfect example of wastefulness with energy and electricity–how often are there rooms, whether public or private, that are fully lit but completely uninhabited at the moment? This non-traditional form of energy is excellent for third world and developing countries, but could also serve as a wake-up call to first world consumers due to the drastic difference between lifestyles.

  • The focus on “off the grid” people/markets will hopefully bring new competition to these areas. The competition will be good for all of Africa. Whether this means there are competing pay-as-you-go businesses or not, more options is always a good thing for the consumers. Hopefully more industries in the west can catch on to this idea, too.

  • I really like the pay as you go idea. It allows consumers to have more options and will hopefully eventually increase their customer base. This is a good business plan that is also working towards a good cause.

  • I think this idea of pay as you go is a good way for this idea to get started because more people will be able to afford it. Although I agree with many of these comments about the customer credit risk involved. I worry that it could potentially hurt economies and family households who desperately want a source of light in their homes

  • “Pay-as-you-go” (here for the solar technology) is, in my sense very clever because part of the misgivings that potential consumers can have regarding installing solar panels is about the price, especially in the developing countries, and with this method they can afford it. Now that the price barrier can be removed, or at least improved, there should not be any obstacle to solar energy. But I do agree with John Mulhern when he questioned the “sustainability” of credit and debt : I think using clean energy is part of a way of thinking and applying the pay-as-you-go method to the energy consumption may be risky if you can not meet the deadlines of your bills.

  • Pay as you go, and similar piecewise pricing sounds like a very economical way of doing things. If Angaza could partner with a cable company, perhaps I’d consider getting cable TV again because it doesn’t make sense to me to buy a large chunk of something I’d barely be using. Buying in bulk or chunks makes sense if I had the money, but I’m not exactly wealthy as a college student, so buying only what you need, such as solar energy, makes very good economic sense to me.

  • PAY AS YOU GO!!! Finally, a program that I can get behind with solar energy but really I’m always down for any solar energy. Pay as you go just hits my soft spot.

  • I like this program. There is a lot to be done in many remote areas of Africa where deforestation is high,so introducing PAY AS YOU GO will solve many problems

  • Very interesting and seems like an innovative step in the right direction however I do have some questions/concerns. It is so true that the biggest problem a lot of these people face is having a lot of money at once, especially when they are living off day-to-day wages in some of these poor countries. This is a creative approach to have payment installations to pay for your solar energy in increments every few days, weeks, or whatever the time span is, just like you would with kerosene except saving your health. However, is this actually cheaper? Is it saving people money or do the periodic payments end up costing as much as you would spend on kerosene? My other big concern is this is almost TOO innovative. What I mean is, look at the most developing countries where this is one of the most prevalent issues like some villages in Africa. If they are using Kerosene already, they are probably not in the situation to be purchasing a cell phone or an electronic device to make Angaza payments even possible. Very great company and I can see this being a start for something phenomenal, but I also see some obstacles and other considerations that need to be sorted.

  • Solar Energy is the future. The sun is what allows all human civilizations to exist. The star that is the sun, is the sole proprietor for human life. Utilize it.

  • Great point and exactly what I was thinking. I would like to know the cost of both products and see if it is really comparable. Also I agree, how are people that barely can pay for electricity going to pay for cellphones. I feel like the Angaza is just focusing on helping without focusing on a good solution. That’s not really helpful, for neither parties.

  • This is the first post in sometime that is actually helping people. Most of the last ones have been about helping business people, which is good and they have a lot of good information but not really what it seems the unreasonable institute is about. So I applaud this transition back to companies that are trying to improve the lives of others and hope this trend continues.

  • Love this idea. Today in class, we were speaking of the same topic, and a girl spoke up about how expensive products like these are which turns people away from using them. I agree that these products should be affordable to all at the end of the day it’s for a greater and better cause.

  • I think this is a great way to bring something great to places that may not have been able to afford it other wise.

  • This is an amazing idea! “Off the grid” power is something that will innovate the way power producer’s do business. There are draw backs to this, but they are few compared to not having any power available (or those fossil fuel burning generators).

    I am glad to see someone doing something about those billion off the grid.

  • This is an incredible thing as it will give people who could not afford this luxury now affordable. I think many people will benefit from the Pay-As-You-Go idea.

  • In another video that I have watched on here, it talked about how bad it is for you to have your home lit with kerosene because it is so dangerous to your health. I think this is a great idea to help consumers stop using the kerosene and use pay-as-you-go!

  • It is good to see that there are still efforts being made to make clean energy products cost efficient.

  • I’m interested in the technical functioning of their PAYG chip. Like, can you just open the thing up, remove the chip, reconnect a couple wires, and completely bypass their system? I guess if it’s connected to a monitoring network for diagnostics and monitoring, then they’d know that you tampered with it and come repossess it or something?

  • I didn’t even think about that when I watched the video, but you make a great point. It will be interesting to see the turnover for this because they claim they can help billions, but have they overestimated the people who could be benefitted by this service? Maybe they haven’t, and just didn’t explain it, but it is certainly a great step towards clean and accessible energy.

  • Another great effort attempting to remove kerosene dependence in off grid countries! This time, I’m very impressed that they found a way to do so using solar energy AND keeping it cheap. While solar energy does seem to pay for itself in the long run, it usually is too much of a start up cost for people in on-grid countries… let alone for people in off-grid ones.

  • Great idea, wasted on yet another money making venture. Right thing, wrong reason. Just more classism. It should be heavily regulated or just issues as a public utility.

  • Like most people who have commented on this, I too agree that it is a great idea. Of course trying to find another source of energy besides kerosene is important for more reasons than just fuel, and this seems to be a step in the right direction in terms of availability and cost efficiency.

  • The problem I am having a hard time understanding is, is the product pay to own or just pay as you use it? I feel like they will be making money off these poor people indefinitely.

  • I think its a great idea, i really like this program, as a human we look to be better by aiming for what we need not what we want.

  • This idea has great short term potentials. It removes the polluting energy sources and uses cleaner technology which is always great. At the same time, I think the customers should be educated on the full details of what they are buying. Solar is expensive and there’s no reason to have people with huge payments while they are trying to improve their cost of living.

  • I like this idea because it helps with awareness of the inside business process and informs people of customer credit risk.

  • The burning of traditional fuels is already done as a pay as you go system so even if that is what this solar company is doing it wouldn’t be the worst, as long as they supply it for cheaper and in a more green way. I think what they are doing is great, but if they established it as a pay to own business that would have a much greater social impact.

  • I read an article a month or two ago about a solar company spreading to
    Africa and impoverished countries through out the world who had a
    similar business. The solar industry is booming, and spreading to
    underdeveloped areas seems to be a popular trend. Angaza Design has a
    great structure by using pay as you go, so both manufacturers can reach
    more customers and consumers can afford energy and pay when they can.
    It’s simple ideas like these that can globalize products when done correctly.

  • I agree with this. I like how this is more focused on how to help people rather than how to make business better. I think that it is important look at how to make a successful business, but we can’t forget to help people too.

  • I love the idea of making a renewable source of energy available to as many people as possible. I agree that it is absurd to have 1 billion people still burning kerosene in the 21st century, so I think reaching those people that have the potential to pay for solar energy on a pay-as-you-go system only makes sense. Hopefully those people will then be educated on the benefits of renewable sources of energy as well.

  • I like this idea, in that you don’t have to be under pressure to buy something with a lump sum of money, you can pay it in increments, however I feel that the majority of people don’t know enough about other sources of energy and where to go to purchase it. I think the main thing that needs to happen first is that awareness about these products existing needs to increase and people should be persuaded to use these by telling them about the great advantages they give them.

  • I like that about this idea, too, not having to be under pressure to buy something with a huge upfront cost but by paying it in increments. I agree when you say we need to bring awareness to people about these products existing, because I think most of us in some form have heard about the advantages of using alternative sources of energy, but I think what we need are continuous examples to remind us that this industry is growing and and that it is succeeding and bring advantages to the environment.

  • Thank you for posting this article! I think this is a great idea! Many people tend to not buy a product based on the price of it, so by using your idea of “pay as you” would really open people’s view up towards the product that is being sold!

  • This concept is really interesting! Not only is it a great business investment, but also creates better energy alternatives in African communities. The world is in need of more energy-efficient resources and these solar lighting systems are a great start. The Pay-As-You-Go approach is also really smart. This method allows the customers to get the most for their money. By incorporating these resources around the world, we as a global community can begin to make the world a better place one step at a time!

  • Thanks for sharing this with us. I find it to be a really good idea. They make pay and you go cell phones this is a great idea. In the long run I think this could help save people money. I would asume that the price for pay as you go would be reasonable? Becuase for a home it could cost a lot to to heat a house and so on. I think this is a great idea and will help a lot of people in the world. Thanks again for sharing this with us.