Novel solar energy technology provides low-cost electricity
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
The LCEF has co-invested in a Guatemalan social enterprise called Kingo. In communities without electricity, Kingo supplies a pre-paid solar energy technology that is cheaper, safer and cleaner than candles or kerosene. The systems are installed at no upfront cost, and customers purchase on-demand power when they need it, by the hour, day, week or month.
Since the LCEF and other partners invested, Kingo has grown rapidly. It has developed its technology and secured franchise partners in Central America and South Africa to roll out the technology in other countries. Today, Kingo has over 2,000 systems installed – 10 times the number of customers at the point of investment – and continues to see rapid growth in demand. It now employs 60 people directly and provides work for approximately 90 rural distributors.
In addition to the carbon savings, Kingo's customers benefit from cost savings (92 percent of customers save money each month), increased productivity (96 percent of customers are more productive), more study time for children (children study for 350 percent longer at home each night), better educational performance (81 percent of parents say their children perform better at school) and a safer home environment (56 percent of customers previously experienced burns with candles and kerosene).
Kingo's aim is to help turn lights on for the 19 percent of the world's population living in darkness, with a goal to provide sustainable electricity for at least 1 million homes by 2020.