February 26 (Renewables Now) - US credit cards provider Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) will provide a new payment technology to Kenyan solar power firm M-Kopa Solar that will enable it to extend its residential solar offerings to Uganda, and possibly other parts of East Africa.
M-Kopa Solar makes solar home systems affordable to low-income off-grid households on a pay-as-you-go installment plan. Its customers get power on daily mobile money payment plans and the cost is lower than that of kerosene fuel.
In a press release on Monday, Mastercard said that the Kenyan firm will pilot its quick response (QR) code-based application that allows merchants to accept payments from a customer's mobile phone without using point of sales (PoS) machines. M-Kopa’s clients will now be able to pay either by scanning a QR code from their phone or by entering the merchant identification number related with the QR code into their feature phone.
Given that the pilot project is successful, Mastercard and M-Kopa will include other countries from East Africa in the programme. The US firm said it will also collaborate with mobile phone operators to extend this model to other utilities in developing markets globally.
M-Kopa is presently providing solar power solutions to three million people in East Africa. Last October, the company secured USD 80 million (EUR 64.8m) in committed debt financing, to be used over the next three years to help roughly a million homes go solar through the pay-as-you-go scheme.
According to Mastercard’s press release, around 625 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity and rely on bio and fossil fuels.
(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.810)