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Equity Bank, US solar company eye funding deal

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The usage of solar energy is vital in taming climate change and its devastating effects. file photo | nmg

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Summary

  • Equity Bank and Fenix are mulling extending a just-concluded solar home systems supplies and financing pilot project in Kenya.
  • Francisco solar startup Fenix International has been collaborating with Equity to allow consumers pay via a mobile-phone app.
  • Customers wishing to buy the system comprising four LED lights and a radio at about Sh15,399 got financing through Equitel via a loan product called Ecomoto.

Equity Bank #ticker:EQTY and an American solar home systems and lanterns firm are mulling extending a just-concluded supplies and financing pilot project in Kenya.

Under the programme run in the Rift Valley, Francisco startup Fenix International has been collaborating with Equity to allow consumers pay via a mobile-phone app.

Fenix sales and marketing director East Africa Chris Bagnall said an assessment of the programme would be concluded this month with possible scaling it up.

“We have just run a pilot with them which has only come to completion just before the elections and we are now in the process of assessing the results and hopefully to scale with them (Equity) across the country,” said Mr Bagnall.

READ: Regional solar firm acquires off-grid software company

Equity Bank said a customer wishing to buy the system comprising four LED lights and a radio at about Sh15,399 got financing through Equitel via a loan product called Ecomoto. The customer chooses the loan repayment period of between two to 12 months.

“The charges are the usual bank charges as per the law (CBR plus four per cent). Once a customer’s loan has been approved (in less than five minutes) the money is remitted to the merchant’s account and the customer gets a notification to collect the product from the merchant,” the lender said.

READ: Finland firm targets west Kenya with solar power

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Fenix International is one of the partners in the Equity Bank’s Energy programme.

The lender has also partnered with an Indian solar energy firm Orb Energy, Dlight, and Green Light Planet.

Such partnerships target consumers with no access to banking or little money to pay up-front for the system.

Solar energy firms have been benefiting from such partnerships as consumers get comfortable with using mobile-money apps for purchases.

Solar experts reckon that Kenya, like most African countries, has a high potential for solar energy generation given high radiation levels from the sun throughout the year.