#ReadyPaySolar Tweet Chat: What it means to bring clean energy to the last mile


It was an all truths session regardless of the brutal honesty of the questions asked. ReadyPay Solar in conjunction with MTN Uganda is selling high quality solar kits that can power several ultra bright lights, a radio and charge mobile phones. But the most interesting aspect to this is that the payment options are relaxed. You can either pay the whole sum upfront or get it on credit; paying a paltry 800/- per day distributed over time. You can check out all the most relevant Tweets in our Storify Post

There was a Tweetchat yesterday hosted by the company behind ReadyPay Solar, Fenix Intl, with distinguished thought leaders, and the entire twitterati, moderated by yours truly, the Dignited team. For starters, the question that continued to makes recursive rounds was: What is this ReadyPay Solar? The ReadyPay Solar is a Solar kit designed by Fenix International a power company. They have designed a many kits to suit different customers and needs.

For example they have the 17W solar kit that powers 4 Ultra bright LED lights, has a squid phone charger with multiple tips, battery clip charger, mains grid charger, a radio with built in torch and a Nokia big pin charging cable. Some kits can even power a TV or charge multiple phones at a go Sounds interesting already, or pretty hard? Worry not. Everything was explained in bit digestibles of less that 140 characters. The other questions resolved around the why, how, where of the solar kit, although the theme of the Tweetchat was Bringing Clean (and affordable) Energy to the last mile.

Sure, only 12% of the 6.5 million households are connected to the national grid electricity. Where the reasons for this disparity are macroeconomic, it doesn’t connote that the remaining percentage should be let alone to figure this stuff. This implies that the majority, and mostly those in rural areas have no access to electricity.

They usually resign to using cheap and potentially disastrous products like Tadooba’s (oil lamps) and kerosene powered lanterns and they also purvey in the bushes for firewood which is used to cook a quick meal. It’s tight. And that is the point TMS Ruge, a global digerati and founder of RT farms highlighted. Uganda and emerging markets have been generally locked in traditional systems. The only option left there is to leapfrog and that’s why alternative sources of energy –clean energy– such as wind, geothermal and solar are vital and such a big deal for Africa’s renaissance men and women.

The session was soon followed by a discourse and a couple of hilarious questions from Bernard Olupot aka @Beewol, who is a celebrity social media and radio personality. He asked whether the solar kit beamed off energy and signals that would cause cancer or potentially make women go barren. The context befitted what most of the not so schooled rural folk would ask, surprisingly.

Of course, the answer was no. At least, there hasn’t been any scientific research that shows that using solar energy can make women barren. And for the men, as well, same applies, no documented evidence of impotence of which solar energy is putatively casual of. The solar kits pass the international standards test and are safe to use affordable consumer products.

Even where the laws regulating this kind of technology are not yet up to speed. ReadyPay Solar gives its word on compensating or hedging against any shortcomings. They have a 24 months guarantee on their solar products and have a toll free customer care center which serves customers in 23 local languages, regardless of their geographical location.

The market has slowly been proliferated with low quality solar products, that are associated with inefficiency and lack of durability. The Ready Pay Solar was conceptualised and designed in Uganda, save for the manufacturing, the assembling of the kits is still done in the country too.

And it’s built to last; endurance the humidity of Karamoja, the extreme heat in Northern Uganda, load balance the coldness in Kabale, and stall tall against the torrents of dust in Kampala. I tell you, the force in this one is strong. The resilience dividend is eventually paid off, you just have to own it to have the experience.

The solar kit comes in types; one for home use and another for small commercial traders. Below is a curation of tweets that you will find informative and interesting. In reply to @Beewol’s question of how he can buy the kit from Olio in Serere district (Eastern Uganda)

@Kanyvelink almost missed the live chat, but he was quickly brought to speed. Ps: You can ask them anytime you wish.

There is just 1 day to go in a promotion to win 1 of the 5  ReadyPay Uganda solar kits to be given out. If you have yet entered the competition read a story of how the kit changed the life of the writer’s mum or you can as well just enter the competition here. By the way, we had first impressions of the solar kit, you may as well want to have a quick glance. Image: BBC’s Cathy Kemi (Twitter)