LIB Solar installs, finances, and maintains solar systems and solar-powered appliances for rural communities in Liberia. The company’s main product provides high-quality lighting, phone charging, and a radio for 32 payments of US$ 8 per month. LIB Solar also offers upgraded home systems that include fans and TVs, and a business system for women entrepreneurs that includes a commercial refrigerator.
Liberia is a challenging market for pay-asyou-go solar (PAYG). Few households can afford the U$ 11-US$ 12 per month charged by PAYG solar companies and mobile money is not in common use. Rural areas are especially challenging due to poor roads and spotty mobile network coverage. Liberians, and especially rural citizens, continue to lack access to lighting or asset-based financing
LIB Solar’s business model overcomes these challenges by leveraging the most valuable resource in rural areas: tight-knit communities. By focusing on communities, rather than selling to individuals, the company can reach economies of scale in each area, making it economically feasible to collect cash payments monthly. The company also works with communities to reduce the costs of payment collection and maintenance by training locals within the community. This same business model is used to distribute and service a range of products, including nano-grids, standalone home systems, and business systems.
With support from the AECF, the company expanded operations to three new counties in 2020, Nimba, Grand Bassa, and Sinoe. LIB Solar grew from 3,150 customers at the start of the year to over 8,000 customers at year end. LIB Solar also grew their monthly revenue from approximately US$ 21,000 at the start of the year to over US$ 50,000 per month at the end of the year. More importantly, the households served by LIB Solar, which are 94% rural and 6% peri-urban (0% urban) while 72% live below the poverty line, can now access affordable electricity.