Mobile Power’s Innovative Solar Battery Rental Service Revolutionizes Energy Access in Africa

Empowering Africa with Sustainable Energy: Mobile Power's Solar Battery Rental Revolution

by Ikeoluwa Juliana Ogungbangbe

In an era where sustainable energy solutions are crucial, Mobile Power’s pioneering project is making significant strides. This innovative off-grid service offers a pay-per-use battery rental system, powered by solar energy, providing daily household energy in a flexible and affordable manner.

The project presents a greener, cost-effective alternative to traditional energy sources like petrol motorbikes, generators, and disposable battery-powered torches, commonly used in many African regions. This initiative is a stepping stone towards introducing cleaner generators and e-mobility across the continent.

As of September 2022, Mobile Power’s initiative boasted a staggering 500,000 monthly rentals spread across several countries. This remarkable achievement has connected over 220,000 people to clean energy for the first time. With an installed renewable energy capacity of 0.62MW, the company operates 165 solar power hubs, nearly 90 of which were installed in 2022 alone.

The essence of Mobile Power’s success lies in its collaboration with local communities and businesses, including motorbike taxi drivers, who rent these batteries for their daily needs. The project’s innovative rental model allows customers to rent smart lithium-ion batteries affordably, with the flexibility of 24-hour increments. This model is particularly beneficial for low-income households and businesses, offering accessible electricity as needed.

MOPO Batteries, managed by local agents, form the backbone of this service. These agents earn commissions on their portfolio of battery rentals. Simultaneously, an in-house Mobile Power team is responsible for the engineering, procurement, construction (EPC), and operations and maintenance (O&M) of the hubs and battery portfolio.

The solar-powered MOPO Hubs offer two types of rentals: a 50Wh and a 1kWh battery, catering to household, commercial, and e-mobility uses. This system not only provides energy access but also promotes the use of renewable resources.

To date, the solution has benefited over 50,000 active customers and has facilitated over 10 million rentals in four countries. The year 2022 witnessed a remarkable 12% month-on-month revenue growth. The Series A funding was led by Camco-managed REPP, followed by investments from Reinhart and All-on, a Shell-funded initiative, among various international and local partnerships.

A key insight from Mobile Power’s journey is the understanding of energy consumption patterns among bottom-of-the-pyramid customers. On average, domestic users rent batteries once every five days, highlighting the suitability of Mobile Power’s flexible business model for customers with limited disposable income.

In conclusion, Mobile Power’s project is more than just an energy solution; it’s a transformative force in Africa’s energy landscape. By providing accessible, sustainable, and affordable energy, this initiative is not only illuminating homes but also empowering communities, one battery at a time.

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