Small home solar is a rapidly growing market in many countries where access to electricity is limited. Access to affordable clean energy is UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 with some 600 million people still living without access to electricity and 2.4 billion people using inefficient, polluting cooking and lighting methods.
Sol-bank, a project by FRED Energy, addresses UN SDG 7 and many others via financial inclusion by use of financial tools and services on the Stellar network.
With our latest project development, we have enabled our Sol-bank users to pay their device rental using USDC.
How it works;
A user scans our payment QR code using one of the many digital wallets available for Stellar. They then send USDC in amounts relative to the number of days required (3 days $1, 15 days $5, 35 days $10) and include their device serial in the memo. The system then checks the USDC amount and serial number, if correct the system generates a new PAYG token and sends a small USDC transaction containing the new token code in the memo. If incorrect, the funds are returned to the user.
For many, gaining access to energy fulfils a basic social need and improves livelihoods leading to other socio-economic benefits.
Put simply, “Access to electricity is fundamental to opportunity in this age. It’s the light that children study by; the energy that allows an idea to be transformed into a real business. It’s the lifeline for families to meet their most basic needs. And it’s the connection that’s needed to plug Africa into the grid of the global economy. You’ve got to have power” A. Oyuke, P.H. Penar, B. Howard (2016)
A few facts
According to IRENA (2020) Innovation landscape brief: Pay-as-you-go models,
- around 8 million people gained energy access with PAYG models between 2015 and 2020
- Around two-thirds of the world’s off-grid energy consumers have access to mobile networks
- By 2019, approximately 40 million off-grid solar systems were sold globally
One of the greatest obstacles in gaining access to energy is purchasing power, incomes are low and fluctuate massively on a monthly basis. This is where PAYG models providing Small Home Solar products have become a key enabler in the transition towards UN SDG 7.
Mobile money is one of the main options in paying rental for SHS contracts. In 2021, Mobile money registered accounts were around 1.5 Billion, with the industry recording more than $1 trillion in transactions.
As the world moves towards a more digitised future, we believe blockchain, digital currencies and energy will become more entwined, FRED Energy’s vision since 2018.