Busi­ness in brief

Southeast Asia Globe - - Contents - – Janelle Retka

Since launch­ing its pilot pro­gramme in 2016, So­larHome has helped Myan­mar find al­ter­na­tive en­ergy op­tions by pro­vid­ing un­prece­dented elec­tric­ity ac­cess to un­der­served house­holds. Ted Mar­tynov, the com­pany’s CEO, broke down So­larHome’s busi­ness and the en­ergy sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try

Tell us about So­larHome…

So­larHome is one of the first distrib­u­tors in pay-as-you-go solar for off-grid house­holds in South­east Asia, start­ing with Myan­mar. We pro­vide af­ford­able rent-to-own solar home sys­tems (SHS) to bot­tom-of-pyra­mid con­sumers liv­ing out­side the elec­tri­cal grid. Us­ing widely avail­able mo­bile phones, con­sumers can make reg­u­lar pay­ments on their mo­biles to top up their sys­tems for two years be­fore as­sum­ing com­plete own­er­ship of their [solar home] sys­tem.

Why did you choose to do this work in Myan­mar?

The Myan­mar mar­ket presents a huge op­por­tu­nity for us, with eight mil­lion house­holds liv­ing off-grid in ru­ral ar­eas. Ru­ral Myan­mar, where over 80% of house­holds re­main off-grid, is a per­fect ex­am­ple of a deep off-grid mar­ket in South­east Asia, where in just the past five years, an es­ti­mated 70% of off-grid house­holds in­stalled low-cost, low-qual­ity com­po­nent solar home sys­tems, or just sim­ply a bat­tery with some LED lights in the house.

How would you de­scribe your busi­ness strat­egy?

So­larHome's propo­si­tion lies at the in­ter­sec­tion of a few highly ex­cit­ing trends, such as fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion, re­new­able en­ergy, dig­i­tally en­abled lending and South­east Asian eco­nomic growth. The pay-as-you-go, rent-to-own sys­tem lever­ages a grow­ing trend in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties through­out South­east Asia: the adop­tion of mo­bile de­vices. Backed by our deep ex­pe­ri­ence in emerg­ing mar­kets' con­sumer fi­nance and digital pay­ments in the Ukraine, where our co-founders are from, we're in a unique po­si­tion to lever­age the ex­ist­ing tech­nol­ogy. High mo­bile own­er­ship low­ers the op­er­a­tional costs of reach­ing re­mote com­mu­ni­ties and gives com­pa­nies like us ac­cess to a pre­vi­ously un­tapped con­sumer group.

What’s next for So­larHome?

We plan to ex­pand our prod­uct line and dis­tri­bu­tion net­works in Myan­mar. We are cur­rently pi­lot­ing our mo­bile money top-up application, which we in­tend to switch to from our ex­ist­ing scratch-card pay­ment mech­a­nism. Ul­ti­mately, our aim is to reach 40,000 house­holds by the end of 2018.

“The Myan­mar mar­ket presents a huge op­por­tu­nity for us, with eight mil­lion house­holds liv­ing off-grid”

So­larHome aims to create af­ford­able al­ter­na­tive power op­tionsTed Mar­tynov says there's a big de­mand for al­ter­na­tive en­ergy inru­ral Myan­mar

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Cambodia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.