Solar energy giant, d.light’s pay-as-you-go programme has impacted on u pto 100 million lives in 12 years in more than 70 countries across the globe, according company co-founder – Ned Tozun.
“Meeting this number is extremely gratifying as it shows the potential for social entrepreneurs to make a real difference in the lives of people in developing countries at massive scale,” Tozun, the company CEO said at the Global Off-Grid Solar Forum and Expo recently.
“What we are celebrating is really a quadruple win: a win for the climate through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; a win for our customers, many of whom have access to clean, affordable energy for the first time in their lives; a win for our employees in developing countries who can depend on good, clean jobs; and a win for investors who are able to put their money where their values lie and still turn a profit.”
Tozun explains that integral to d.light’s success in developing countries is its pioneering use of the PayGo financing model, which removes initial financial barriers by allowing customers to make small weekly or daily payments.
The firm’s president Sam Goldman says the model is built to emphasize on human interest and the durability of its products.
“Our goal is that people across the globe, regardless of their income level, are able and happy to transition to renewable energy,” Goldman explains.
In addition to hitting the 100 million mark, d.light has also offset 23 million tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of approximately five million passenger vehicles driven for a year, or the entire annual carbon footprint of Kenya.
“By developing innovative, sustainable and climate-friendly approaches for addressing the world’s greatest challenges, social entrepreneurs are key to achieving the SDGs and ensuring a more sustainable future for all of us,” Goldman added.
Initially founded to promote a solar lantern that Tozun and Goldman developed as students at Stanford’s renowned Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability class, today d.light offers a range of solar-powered appliances including televisions, fans and smartphones.
“We set the goal of impacting 100 million lives by 2020 shortly after establishing d.light back in 2007. When we set the goal post, we had no idea how we were going to get there, so we are thrilled to be achieving this ambitious target right on schedule.
“Thanks to advances in solar technology, customers in developing countries are now able to leapfrog the grid entirely by relying on renewables from day one. Our next goal will be to impact a billion lives by 2030 through sustainable products,” adds Tozun.
Alex Olum, General Manager Kenya, says: “We have a great team working at”d.light who are passionate about what they do, and we believe we will be able to impact many more lives as we are all keen to ensure that in Kenya ,d.light is the brand of choice.”