The Nigeria Off-Grid Market Programme has announced the completion of the integration of five solar home systems’ companies into the agency Network of an Information Technology company, Swifta.
NoMAP said Azuri Technologies, A Solar, Oolu Solar, Smarter Grid International and Sosai Renewable Energy Company were integrated into Swifta’s cash collection agent network in a bid to remove bottlenecks hindering energy access to households in communities.
According to a statement, the recent integration follows a rigorous user acceptance test initiated and financed by NoMAP recently which will ease subscription collection from unbanked pay-as-you-go customers of the companies.
It said the six-week integration was financed and project-managed by NoMAP, a market building programme jointly supported by the Shell Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development with the aim of, among other things, addressing the current difficulties faced by solar home systems companies in collecting payment from unbanked customers.
It explained that the system was designed such that a PAYGO customer from any of the five companies with a subscription plan could renew its subscription through Swifta’s mobile or static agents leveraging on the company’s proprietary OmniBranch platform.
The Programme Manager, NoMAP, Mr Adedotun Eyinade, said, “Customers who are unbanked and living off the grid often face the arduous task of not being able to access pay-as-you-go solar since there are limited options to pay for their monthly subscriptions.
“Thanks to the integration into Swifta’s agent network, PAYGO customers can now seamlessly pay for their monthly subscription through cash collection agents. NoMAP views the pilot as a workaround to address the challenges associated with Nigeria’s low mobile money uptake, which makes it difficult for unbanked customers to pay for solar unlike their peers in East Africa.”
Eyinade expressed hope that the companies NoMAP had partnered on the integration would be able to expand into new off-grid communities since collection risk would be addressed by the integration.
According to the statement, NoMAP will collect and report evidence of improvement in sales, churn, default rate, customer experience and energy access to the unserved.
Source: The Punch