Banking on solar energy in Tanzania through savings co-operatives
Savings cooperatives like this one in Bariadi, Tanzania are helping many people to access solar technology who might not otherwise be able to afford it.
The cooperative is working in partnership with solar company Ensol. Ensol provides solar lighting kits to the co-op at a discounted price. The co-op then sells the kits to its members and earns a commission on each one it sells - which is reinvested in the co-op for them to buy more solar kits.
For a small deposit, local people can join the cooperative, and then save whatever they can. Being a member means that they can borrow credit against the cooperative at microloan rates. If they can afford it, members can buy a solar lighting kit outright. But if they can't afford to pay the whole cost up-front, they can pay a percentage and then pay off the balance in small monthly instalments.
The scheme is one of a number of ways that the UK-supported EnDev (Energising Development) programme in Tanzania is helping to encourage and provide solar energy to many of the >35 million people in the country who aren't connected to the electricity grid. The EnDev programme is an international partnership in Tanzania which is being implemented by the Dutch NGO SNV.
Picture: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development