Submitted by: Zara Solar Limited
Implemented country: Tanzania, United Republic of
Title: Providing affordable solar systems in Northern Tanzania
Tanzania has one of the lowest rates of electrification in the world. Only 10 % of the population has access to grid electricity and in rural areas only 2 % have access leaving people dependent on increasing kerosene costs for lighting. Zara Solar based in Mwanza provide electricity to people without access to grid electricity at affordable rates using solar photovoltaic. Zara Solar is a rapidly growing business that employs five full-time technicians and has a network of self employed technicians to reach out to the remote rural areas. The offered Solar-home systems are small stand-alone electical systems which consist of a photovoltaic module which generates electricity and a charge controller to prevent the battery from being over charged or deep discharged - it can be used during both day and night. Recognizing that the customer base is poor and difficult to reach for servicing, we insist on high quality equipment that is less likely to break down but buy it in bulk to get good prices. The next step is offering micro credit facilities to make solar PV available to people who can afford monthly payments but do not have the money to pay upfront.