How are mobile phones helping light up Sierra Leone’s future?
When night falls in Sierra Leone, millions must sit in darkness or pay for expensive, polluting kerosene or battery-powered torchlights in order to work, cook, and read. Now, Easy Solar, a startup created by Columbia grads, helps bring low-cost, solar-powered energy to Sierra Leone.
Only 10 percent of households and businesses in Sierra Leone are on the grid, and most are in urban areas. For the other 6.5 million residents, Easy Solar offers affordable and upgradable solar-powered lamps and home systems, payable in installments on a mobile phone.
Easy Solar’s founders, Nthabi Mosia '16SIPA, Alexandre Tourre '16SIPA, and Eric Silverman '16SIPA, met as master’s students at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, where they built a team to respond to Sierra Leone’s lack of electrification and won several venture competitions along the way. Their team has grown to include top talent from across Sierra Leone, with 10 full-time staff now pushing forward Easy Solar’s strategy on the ground.
In the last year, Easy Solar has established 17 distribution points across six of Sierra Leone’s 14 districts, becoming the leading solar company in the country. The company is building on this success by partnering with a leading mobile network operator, making it easier for customers to pay in installments, and it plans to expand into neighboring Liberia and Guinea.
“Clean, affordable, and high-quality energy services are the key for Sierra Leone’s inhabitants to start businesses, pursue education, and make better lives for themselves," said Nthabi Mosia '16SIPA, Easy Solar’s co-founder and CFO. Learn more.