Launching the Virtual Grid
WakaWaka is entering the Rwandan solar market this fall to pilot a new pay-as-you-go energy service, the Virtual Grid (VG). The prepaid technology replaces the usual high upfront costs of solar-powered energy weekly payments similar to the payment system used by mobile phones users around the globe. The costs of these payments are equal to the current average spend on kerosene and mobile phone charging. This safe, clean and affordable energy alternative has a positive impact on family health, school results, and even provides new income generating opportunities.
The Dutch development bank FMO will invest EUR 600,000 in the Virtual Grid’s pilot. Over a period of 12 months the pilot will develop, promote and market the WakaWaka Virtual Grid in rural off-grid Rwanda. The pilot will test both the technology and uptake of this service by aiming for a 5% market share in three districts.
Maurits Groen (CEO WakaWaka) and Nanno Kleiterp (CEO FMO)
The Virtual Grid combines prepaid technology with the WakaWaka Power: after a one-time deposit on the WakaWaka Power, weekly scratch cards are bought to activate the unit. The code on the scratch card, along with a unique code from the WakaWaka Power, is sent by text to a free local service number. A text is instantly returned containing an activation code for the unit.
Provided the pilot is successful, a nationwide rollout in Rwanda (and later other African countries) will follow, which will be supported with additional, larger financing volumes from FMO. FMO and WakaWaka consider this pilot as a foundation for a long-term partnership for off-grid energy.