Solar energy for off-grid communities in rural Guatemala
Seattle, Washington, US
Kingo Energy is a Guatemala-based social enterprise that provides reliable, pre-paid solar energy for off-grid rural communities. This presents poorer families with a cleaner, safer and more affordable alternative to burning candles or kerosene for household lighting. In FY15, LCEF invested in Kingo, helping it to expand its operations, hire new staff and complete 2,300 new solar installations, with more than 11,000 direct beneficiaries.
In FY16, I was one of two ERM employees from the United States who worked with Kingo, as part of a pilot ERM Foundation Entrepreneurship Development Program, in which employees were given the challenge to work with a small social enterprise to address a specific business challenge. The team focussed on improving Kingo’s data collection methods and helping them extend their reach outside of Guatemala.
After spending an intense weekend in Guatemala, the ERM team developed a sophisticated screening tool that Kingo can now use to determine which countries and regions are the best fit for their business model. By replicating Kingo’s successful operations in other locations, they will be able to help bring affordable and reliable energy to some of the world’s 1.4 billion people who do not have access to electricity, 30 million of whom live in Latin America.