Decarbonisation and greening public services, Urban and Local Needs

Connecting thousands of rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa to off-grid solar power


Sub-Saharan Africa

Decarbonisation and greening public services, urban and local needs

  • Year founded: 2014
  • Offices (HQs): Rwanda
  • FTEs: 50
  • Key partners: Government of Rwanda, Government of Mozambique
  • Key executives: Yariv Cohen, Co-founder and CEO, President of Camco Clean Energy and has background in impact investment in Africa; Seth Merrin Co-Founder, background in investment; Angela Homsi, Co-Founder, background in infrastructure investment in Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) accounts for 75% of the world’s population without access to electricity. Furthermore, population growth in the region is out-pacing the rate of electrification. Extending electricity grid networks to reach rural and remote regions of SSA is not feasible. A lack of safe electricity supply makes it challenging for families, farmers, and entrepreneurs to affordably utilise high-quality health clinics, innovative agriculture technologies, and newly possible internet connectivity. The vast number of people living in these rural and remote areas may instead be best served by decentralised (or ‘off-grid’) solutions.


Ignite Power is connecting rural communities across SSA to decentralised ‘solar home systems’, which consist of a commercial solar panel unit and wiring such that the system can power several lights or small devices. Ignite Power has collaborated with state and local governments and entities, and employed over 3500 local workers to deploy solar home systems reaching over 1 million people, predominantly in rural Rwanda. Ignite Power developed inclusive financing models that best serve the needs of consumers in rural communities. For example, the startup established a ‘pay-as-you-grow’ scheme that allows farmers to pay only during the harvest season when they are earning. The startup’s data-driven smart operations also mitigate risk and decrease prices. Ignite Power’s inclusive financing schemes and innovative smart operations allow them to offer solar home systems for under $1 a month, making clean electricity accessible to many households for the first time.


Increased attention from investors serious about reaching Sustainable Development Goals and the continued reduction in the cost of manufacturing solar power units provides the ideal conditions for continued growth at Ignite Power. The company is also continuing to innovate, expanding their range of product offerings to complement the electrical infrastructure they provide to consumers; this includes tools for connecting to the internet and powering medical technologies.

Expand to additional countries across Africa.

Deploy 250,000 new systems to connect a further 1.2 million people to power for the first time.

Governments in African countries. Investors with an interest in energy and infrastructure in African countries.


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