Kenya - Democratizing access to solar energy
Jacob Gilog's path. He became and independent reseller and now walks through Nairobi's inner city to bring light to people who do not access to electricity...
I was working as pump attendant at a service station in Nairobi which began selling Total solar equipment: lamps that recharge during the day and are used for lighting at night or charging mobile phones. I was really fascinated by these products. Moreover, they are very well known, and lots of people ask for them. In Kenya, 88% of people have no access to electricity and mainly use kerosene lamps for lighting.
Lighting at lower cost
Nonetheless, kerosene is pretty expensive, up to 90 shillings a liter. Once the basic equipment is purchased, these solar lamps allow families to have access to lighting and telecommunications almost for free, since sunlight costs nothing. In addition, these high quality products are reliable, sustainable, and have little environmental impact. This is why I applied to Total to become an independent reseller. I studied marketing and am very interested in sales. So, I bought my first stock on credit. That’s how I started my business.
Today, I walk the shanty towns of Nairobi to meet customers. I give them information on the products, but I do not actually provide maintenance. Rather, I provide after-sales service: if a product is defective or damaged, I return it to the supplier to have it repaired. My only regret is that, for some households, the starting price (10 dollars, or about 840 shillings) is still too expensive. Even so, in the long run, solar energy is much more cost effective than an oil lamp. In the future, I would like to expand my business to remote villages in the east and west of Kenya where the population is isolated.