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Founded in 2019, Invest Solar has quickly become one of South Africa’s solar industry leaders. Our fast, affordable, flexible solar solutions have powered low-income homes across Johannesburg’s townships and informal settlements, lighting up lives in a very real sense. A light at night, a functioning fridge, an internet connection, a place to charge a phone – these are the small changes that can transform people’s lives.

THE BENEFITS

SWITCH TO SOLAR

• Cheaper, safer, cleaner – and more reliable

• No dirty, dangerous, and expensive kerosene

• Contributes to sustainable development, reducing carbon emissions

• Helps alleviate energy poverty and boosts household income

• A sustainable, affordable way to electrify homes, schools, clinics, and businesses

The UN includes access to clean and affordable energy as one of its key Global Goals for Sustainable Development. The families and communities that have benefited from Invest Solar have a complete solar solution that will power – and empower – them for years to come.

MOBILE PHONE

Virtually every household has a mobile phone. This brings with it internet access, employment opportunity and a window to the outside world. The problem for many – how to keep them charged? 

Some walk kilometers to find a charge point. Others pay a not insignificant fee to shop owners to charge their phones. 

A steady, at-home charge point allows these households to take full advantage of the mobile phone and internet networks. 

Many of our clients tell us that the single biggest advantage of the Invest Solar system is the ability to charge their phones.

EDUCATION: KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. POWER IS KNOWLEDGE

Too many South African children are limited to learning only during daylight hours. Some learn at night using dangerous kerosene lamps. Invest Solar brings these children access to safe, inexpensive, dependable light at night, as well as Wi-Fi.

And there are extraordinary educational benefits of a reliable internet connection – either via router or cell phone. The limitless online learning resources for kids (and adults) of all ages; the apps and online tools to develop skills in key subjects such as maths, science and english; the chance to join online study groups without having to travel long distances.

Invest Solar offers children in poor communities the same access to information as their wealthier peers – the opportunity to truly level the playing field and find a way out of the cycle of poverty.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Those households that can afford to, use kerosene lanterns. Kerosene is expensive and omits poisonous fumes, causing respiratory illness, eye infections and even death.

These lanterns are responsible for 70% of household fires and 80% of burn injuries in young children in Africa. Kerosene fumes kill 1.5 million people a year – more than malaria.

Swapping expensive kerosene lanterns for solar power not only saves money. It saves lives.

EMPLOYMENT AND INCOME-GENERATING OPPORTUNITIES

The increased opportunities of having a regularly charged mobile phone, reliable internet access and light at night are clear. 

And there are, of course, significant benefits to local businesses such as spaza shops that can keep the lights on at night and ensure their music and televisions run reliably. In these cases, the system pays for itself quite quickly. 

We also work to set up and support community-based distributors who are active in these areas and have existing relationships with unelectrified households. 

There are, in addition, numerous other economic opportunities created by a thriving solar market – among them local servicing of equipment, local installers and local storage facilities. 

With widespread job creation in combination with widespread electrification, there is the potential to uplift entire communities.

ENVIRONMENT

Kerosene lamps emit black carbon (far more polluting and hazardous than regular carbon) into the atmosphere. Coal-based electricity is, unfortunately, not much cleaner.

The use of fossil fuels energy creates greenhouse gas emissions, while drilling for them damages and erodes the soil and pollutes water supply.

Solar, by contrast, yields no emissions, no greenhouse gases and no fossil fuels.

Switching to solar means protecting the environment for generations to come.

THE NEED

Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the lowest rates of electrification in the world. Around 600 million people – more than half the area’s total population – are without access to electricity.

South Africa is, unfortunately, no exception.

The problem is especially acute in rural areas and informal settlements, unable to access the national grid. In some cases, for a variety of reasons, Eskom has cut power to whole swathes of these communities for months at a time, with hundreds of thousands of households left in the dark.

Millions rely on kerosene lamps and candles to light their homes, and burn wood on open fires to cook and heat water. This is

hazardous, harmful, polluting – and expensive. Many travel miles simply to charge their phones.

The situation is untenable. But there is light at the end of this dark tunnel.

… and that light is solar-powered.

Invest Solar is a company at the forefront of providing fast, flexible, affordable solar solutions to rural and informal settlements across South Africa.

Ultimately, bringing solar electricity to remote and impoverished communities is more than just our business – it’s a matter of basic human rights. And it’s what really drives us.

THE OPPORTUNITY

The use of solar energy in rural areas and informal settlements across South Africa has increased dramatically in recent times.

Invest Solar are on the frontlines of this revolutionary change.

We have helped drive growth in the use of rooftop solar home systems. These systems can be deployed in one day, and provide sufficient power for everything from a few lights and phone chargers to TV, internet and refrigeration.

For many households, even access to a small amount of electricity can lead to life-saving improvements in productivity, health, education, safety and wellbeing.

THE PRODUCT

Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the lowest rates of electrification in the world. Around 600 million people – more than half the area’s total population – are without access to electricity.

South Africa is, unfortunately, no exception.

The problem is especially acute in rural areas and informal settlements, unable to access the national grid. In some cases, for a variety of reasons, Eskom has cut power to whole swathes of these communities for months at a time, with hundreds of thousands of households left in the dark.

Millions rely on kerosene lamps and candles to light their homes, and burn wood on open fires to cook and heat water. This is

hazardous, harmful, polluting – and expensive. Many travel miles simply to charge their phones.

The situation is untenable. But there is light at the end of this dark tunnel.

… and that light is solar-powered.

Invest Solar is a company at the forefront of providing fast, flexible, affordable solar solutions to rural and informal settlements across South Africa.

Ultimately, bringing solar electricity to remote and impoverished communities is more than just our business – it’s a matter of basic human rights. And it’s what really drives us.

THE FINANCE

The Invest Solar model has the potential to alleviate energy poverty in South Africa on a large scale. However the upfront cost remains a major obstacle to many low-income households who would stand to benefit.

No one needs to save money more than low-income consumers – but as the saying goes, it takes money to save money. Many households lack both savings and access to credit (often due to not having a credit history), and therefore face barriers other consumers don’t.

At the same time, our systems could be paid for with what most of these households spend on kerosene in two years – so the fact is, many people could afford to pay for the system over time, even without the capital to pay up-front. It is for this reason that Invest Solar works with banks and other lenders to ensure low-income households have the credit facilities to benefit from our solar solutions.

Given the right financing mechanisms, these households will be able to finance their own energy needs – and reap the benefits for generations to come.

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