It was around 7 o’clock in the evening, Kumairbati Singh of Siraha was doing her household work and her children were busy studying. Suddenly, the lights went out and there was darkness. Kumairbarti stopped her work and her children closed their books and prepared to go to sleep early. Whenever there is a power cut, Kumairbati has no option but to sit idly waiting for the power to come back on or to light a candle and continue working. Coming from a poor family, she could not afford to buy a solar home system in one payment. She wished she could pay for one in installments, which would be affordable and light up her whole house. When solar CEO Lalita Chaudhary of Grameen Urjah announced that she would provide installment payment options for solar home systems, Kumairbati was overjoyed.

Lalita demonstrates how PAYG works to a customer.

Many people in rural Nepal live with either no electricity or unreliable power and cannot afford to buy large solar home systems or backup generators. They are forced to use kerosene lamps, candles, battery powered flashlights or low quality solar products. In order to address this problem, Empower Generation launched Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) Solar Home Systems. The project first piloted in Siraha in eastern Nepal. Solar CEO Lalita Chaudhary was able to sell seven PAYG home systems at one time. Customers can buy a Sun King Home 60, paying on a monthly basis for a year via their mobile phone. After one year, they own the system.

Empower Generation also started to pilot PAYG Solar Home Systems in Kailali in far west Nepal, through solar CEOs Meena Mahato of Prekshya Surya Urjah and Laxmi Chaudhary of Namuna Sourya Urjah. Meena has sold eight home systems, and Laxmi has sold one. Both women are enthusiastic about the payment option and solar home system they can provide to their customers. Meena said, “Before, people were hesitant to even listen to the features of the solar home system because of its price, but now with the PAYG system, people are considering the product and showing interest. This has motivated me to work even harder.”

So far the response to PAYG Solar Home Systems is positive. Empower Generation will launch the program throughout our entire distribution network this year in order to provide better energy access for those who cannot typically afford it.