In a world where one in five people live without electricity, we provide clean, transformative energy to households that suffer from expensive, unreliable grids or have no grid access at all. Our services are non-exclusive, meaning everyone in the household benefits - male and female, young and old. We are lighting the homes of over 50,000 people per month, and that number is only increasing.
By generating renewable power from the sun, our systems are helping customers reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Replacing all kerosene lamps worldwide with solar lights would be equivalent to a 5% reduction in the U.S's annual emissions. Each new household we reach means an additional 140 kg of carbon dioxide and 1.45 kg of black carbon in avoided emissions per year.
Most families living in rural off-grid areas use dim kerosene lamps to light their homes at night. Burning fuel inside pollutes the air with harmful particles, which can irritate the eyes and lungs, and puts children at risk of accidentally burning themselves. By displacing kerosene usage with our powerful LEDs, we not only reduce these dangerous side effects, but provide light that the whole family can enjoy at once. This extends potential time for studying or other productive activities, with our customers reporting, on average, 149% increase in study time after we power their home.
The affordability of our systems allows customers to maintain their current energy spending while getting brighter light and more powerful electronics. Particularly with high quality appliances like radios and TVs, our solar solution can enable significant cost savings for customers. Household income can also increase in many cases, as customers are able to keep their shops open longer or use night hours for other income generating activities.
Over the next decade the renewable energy sector will become one of the largest employers in Africa, and we are already leading the charge. We are creating over 40 new jobs per month through our in-house recruitment and training ZOLA Electric Academy. Named one of the most exciting places to work in Africa, our company provides economic opportunity to an eager and talented local workforce, in a fast-paced startup environment.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, only 34% of the population have a financial account, leaving the majority of our potential customers unbanked. By collecting payments via mobile money, we are signing up customers for their first formal financial service and giving them a tangible reason for regular use. Payment history collected through our software accumulates a credit profile for customers, which can help unlock access to other financial services as well. Rural mobile money agent liquidity is also improved by our customers “topping-up” their mobile accounts in frontier areas instead of cashing out.