- Sector: Renewable Energy
- Country of operations: Uganda
Village Energy is a Ugandan solar power start-up that is developing a last-mile distribution model for farmers, other rural businesses and institutions. The company specialises in projects that provide between 200W and 10kW of power
“The off-grid solar industry in rural East Africa is mostly focused on households,” says Waringa Matindi, CEO. “This leaves huge untapped opportunity for farms, businesses and institutions which can boost incomes, lead to job creation and entrepreneurship and increase access to services.”
The company has a network of six branches and 30 employees across Uganda and offers a wide range of services, from in-house design to procurement, financing, installation, remote monitoring and on-site servicing. Since 2015, it has completed over 100 custom installations, with the largest to date being a 5kW scheme.
However, although there is clearly plenty of potential in this corner of the solar market, there are also lots of challenges and over time the company has adapted its position to focus on the most rewarding elements.
“Despite many innovative technologies entering the market, the complexities of serving this customer segment have slowed adoption,” says Waringa. “Our model has evolved from doing solar repairs to being a one-stop solar shop to now focusing 100% on larger custom solar installations. The key has been the speed at which we are able to adapt and our ability to find sales and develop new business opportunities.”
The company feels it is now well-placed for growth in the coming years. “We are not afraid to challenge our own business assumptions and make changes to our model as the data comes in, while staying true to our core mission of delivering solar at the last-mile,” says Waringa.