Scalable, solar mini-grid solutions in Africa
ARC Power’s Founder, Karl Boyce has worked in Rwanda for the past 13 years, originally on biofuels projects. He saw first-hand that one of the biggest factors limiting national development was the lack of electrical power in the communities.
Expanding Rwanda’s national power grid isn’t commercially viable as the population is distributed in small rural communities. Solar energy is not new in Rwanda. Existing solar home systems performed well, but the DC power provided was small scale and when the sun went down, the power went off.
After building relationships with the Rwandan government, the national energy company, and local communities, it became clear that off-grid energy would provide the optimal solution. In 2016 ARC Power started work.
Whilst designing the offering, we reviewed other solar power schemes. We saw families who were unable to afford the up-front set-up and connection fees, going without electricity.
Later, those same families were paying their connected neighbours, so their children could do homework under a strong light. This observation defined our fully inclusive model. There are no upfront costs with ARC Power at all. Instead, we install light fittings and power sockets in each connected home. For free. We aim to make getting connected as simple as possible for everybody.
Since 2016, we have grown steadily to our current team of 55 including 50 Rwandan staff. By 2020 we will employ 100 people, creating and safeguarding jobs in the communities we serve.