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How Solar Power is Improving Lives in Maasai land

In her small house in a remote village in Kibiko, Kajiado county, Margaret Teeka beads as she checks on her three-month-old granddaughter, Wendy, sleeping next to her. Wendy is being disturbed by a noise coming from the roof, as a team from Azuri Paygo Solar fix a panel.

Until four months ago, Teeka and her family used kerosine tin lamp(koromboi) for lighting at night. The family has now installed a 50-watt solar panel, which comes along with a 24-inch LED TV, four solar lamps, a radio and a Zuku/Star Times satellite dish with over 50 channels. Ateeka, who beads for a living, says her work is now easier since she can bead even at night.

“Doing my work is now easier and my granddaughter is safe from the smoky tin lamp,” Ateeka said.

Solar Home Systems have a significant impact on customers’ lives and the environment, eliminating the hazards of kerosene lamps and providing modern services to rural consumers.

James Siyope, a pastor and father of seven, was among the first people to acquire the Azuri TV Product. “I talk freely on my phone, not worrying of where to charge my battery,” Siyope said.

“My child can now comfortably do her homework at night, unlike before when we were using kerosine lamp,” said Elizabeth Meteur. Her husband Elijah Meteur loves the fact that he gets to know what is going on around the world. “I bought the product five months ago and my family and I enjoy watching TV,” said Elijah. Before installing solar, Elijah spent more than Sh2,000 a month on kerosene, money he now diverts to other house chores.

The cost of the whole product is Sh84,998, but Azuri gives a flexible payment plan, where a client pays a deposit of Sh4,999, with the remaining being distributed over two and a half years. Elijah, who is a businessman and farmer, pays close to Sh700 per week for the product, and he appreciates this, saying it is a manageable payment plan. “We are far away from development and it might take longer for Kenya Power to bring power to us. That’s why we decided to invest in solar,” he said.

Working with leading local partners and a network of in-field agents, Azuri installs the solar and services them.

Those who cannot afford the TV product are given a cheaper option, where a client gets a 10 watt solar panel, four solar lamps and a rechargeable radio. “The cost of the Quad product is Sh24,500, with a payment plan of one and a half years,” said Kibiko Regional manager Jane Gichuhi. The customer can decide to be paying either monthly or weekly.

Azuri operations manager Benson Wandeto says their products have covered a big part of the country, with most of their clients being in rural areas. “We are more is Siaya, Homa Bay, Narok, Baringo, Kajiadi,Kilifi and Tana River,” he said.

So far, they have connected 150,000 units across the country at a cost of Sh2 billion, with a further Sh2 billion in the pipeline to invest in the local economy.

After exhausting the lighting market, Azuri will diversify to start offering irrigation pumps powered by solar for farmers and fridge cooler systems. “We want to exhaust the solar light market then explore more on the others. Its a dream we hope to bring to life,” he said.

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