Orange Enters Solar Lighting, Phone-Charging Business In Kenya

Orange Enters Solar Lighting, Phone-Charging Business In Kenya

Mobile phone operator Orange Kenya plans to sell solar lights in a product bundle that includes a mobile handset in areas with inadequate electricity supply, according to a VenturesAfrica report by Felicia Omari Ochell.

The solar lamps are expected to range in price from $42.70 US to $96 US. Stand-alone solar devices that are not bundled with Orange mobile devices will go for $31.70 to $85.

Orange partnered with Greenlight Planet to launch sales of the solar lights/phone chargers. With headquarters in India, Greenlight Planet sells solar lights in rural African and Indian markets with a massive sales force of 6000 “micro-entrepreneurs.” The sales force promotes the company’s products and builds trust in the brand at a micro level, according to the company website.

Greenlight Planet says it’s on a mission to revolutionize rural energy access for the 1.5 billion off-grid villagers who use kerosene.

“Access to adequate, clean lighting is now as fundamental as access to water and other essential amenities,” said Anish Thakkar, CEO of Greenlight Planet, in a report by CIOEastAfrica. “It enables parents to provide for their children by extending their working hours after dark, and children can do their homework without straining their eyes or harming their lungs with fumes from lanterns that utilize petroleum or solid fuels.”

Vincent Lobry, CEO of Orange Kenya explained why this merger is relevant. “As mobile phones are fast becoming a necessity for most Kenyan households, access to reliable means of energy is imperative for communication, mobile banking and maintaining business interests.”

About 73 percent of Kenyans live within 1-kilometre (0.6 miles) of a power transformer, but just 18 percent are connected to the grid, CIO EAST AFRICA reports.

Orange Telkom Kenya and Greenlight said they want to reach more than 1 million homes over the next five years, according to CIOEastAfrica.