Kuyere's Strategy for Extreme Affordability
Innovation that serves the lowest-income families first
If solar electrification is going to reduce poverty in Malawi villages, it needs to be distributed with new electricity and technology business models. In any economic exchange of money and services, the difference in value between the need that the customer has for the service and the cost to the supplier of providing that service is the “surplus value” or profit of the exchange. To reduce poverty, the net surplus value of electricity needs to be maximized, AND most of that surplus needs to go to the customer to increase standards of living. This means that to reduce poverty, solar technology needs to both have a rapidly falling cost, AND profits need to be shared equitably between suppliers and customers. In traditional business, companies focus primarily on maximizing growth and returns to their investors/owners. But this does not reduce poverty because when the suppliers keep the surplus for themselves to maximize growth, they do not leave enough surplus for the customers who need to retain net value to increase their standard of living.
Debt-free affordable solar
Even though there are approximately 45 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the vast majority of companies working on solar electrification are focusing on primarily four countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda. While some of the demand is being satisfied by current efforts and local entrepreneurs, there is a huge population of customers who are largely outside the sphere of operations of current efforts. What Kuyere’s effort does, is develop a business model and custom technologies for those hundreds of millions of potential users that may be falling through the cracks of current efforts.
We think we can do better than the other folks in terms of providing a better and more affordable solution that is relevant and feasible for a larger number of Malawi’s lowest-income customers. Note that the fact that we are trying to make a solution that is affordable for lower income countries and customers is not a criticism of projects and efforts that are targeting middle-income households and countries. It is simply because our venture has a moral focus (to help as many people as possible with limited funds), we have to reach greater levels of affordability than other suppliers. Some companies are charging approximately $10/month and $21/month respectively (according to news reports), whereas the solution we provide to households in Malawi scale down to an entry level system of only $2/month. The difference between a $2/month solution and a $10/month solution is very important for the lowest income customers.
Solar-electric cooking NOW!
“Last-forever” solar electricity that replaces batteries with capacitors
Capacitors make very-long-lasting solar home systems possible. Capacitors can last 10 years or more, but batteries do not. By using capacitors, we can provide solar electricity for even the lowest income customers because subsidized solar systems do not have to be replaced. When supporters know their financial contribution will have a greater long-term impact on the life of a low-income family; it is easier to get sponsors to support solar energy justice.