Solar firm rides on elections to sell more television sets

M-Kopa solar CEO Jesse Moore speaks during the launch of companies to inspire Africa report 2017. (Photo: Wilberforce Okwiri/Standard)

A solar firm is aiming to cash in on the election fever backed by a study showing that a majority of customers not connected to the national electricity grid are now more politically aware since acquiring the sets six months ago.

The survey conducted among a pool of over 250 new off-grid customers shows that 89 per cent have shifted their political opinions since buying the solar-powered TV sets from M-Kopa.

It notes that 47 per cent bought the TVs for news or educational programmes while 29 per cent were keen on entertainment.

“Off-grid homes are mostly driven to acquire solar television because it helps them to keep up to date with news and current affairs,” says the survey report.

M-Kopa estimates that it has connected 70,000 solar rechargeable TVs to date, with the business overseeing transactions worth Sh1 million each month.

Currently, the firm says, 500,000 households in Africa have M-Kopa with 2.5 million people using  a solar system in their homes.

Jesse Moore, the chief executive and co-founder of M-Kopa (pictured), underscored the importance of television in strengthening Kenya’s “information-intensive social and economic systems”.

Social inclusion

M-Kopa Director for External Affairs Pauline Githugu said the new TV owners now felt a sense of social inclusion, leading to more civic engagement.

“Off-grid homes with radio, smartphones and television will now have access to almost all the information channels that their civic leaders have,” she said.

M-Kopa was recently voted among the top 50 smart companies in the world by the Massachusetts Institute of Science and Technology.

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