UK-based BBOXX has signed a deal with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as part of the Energie pour Tous initiative to bring off-grid electricity to an estimated 2.5 million people by 2020.
The deal extends the company’s footprint in the country, providing off-grid smart solar home systems that are remotely monitored using cloud-based technology.
Customers are able to pay around US$15 per month for the set up of a light, radio and phone system by using mobile money.
BBOXX said the new agreement would help create 10,000 more jobs.
The micro systems will be distributed through BBOXX’s network as well as with its Kinshasa distribution partner, Orange Energie.
BBOXX already operates in the DRC through its partnership with Victron Energy to provide pay-as-you-go solar to the urban region of Goma in the east of the country.
It follows a raft of similar deals across Africa, including a deal with Togo last December to roll out 300,000 solar home systems to off-grid communities by 2022.
BBOXX co-founder, Laurent Van Houcke, praised DRC officials for recognising the significance of off-grid solutions in providing electricity to off-grid communities.
There are around 62 million people in the DRC still living off-grid, or roughly 10% of Africa’s un-electrified population.
“The government has provided the right regulatory framework and tariff policies that has allowed private companies like BBOXX to work effectively in the country’s energy industry for the benefit of its citizens,” he said.
Significantly, this provides import tax exemption on solar equipment, reducing overall installation costs.
DRC Minister of Rural Development, Bitakwira Bihona-Hayi Justin, said the private sector has a “key role” to play in the nation’s off-grid electrification.
“The DRC passed a law in 2014 to completely privatise the energy sector to attract private investors. This partnership will bring basic energy services through a unique technology to the large off-grid population base in the DRC.”
According to Van Houcke, the company’s data-driven service is ideally suited to the DRC’s conditions where remote communities are spread across vast locations.
He said the company is keen to support the government’s agenda.
“There are currently over 1 billion people in the world without access to electricity – we are committed to dramatically reducing this number.”