Village Energy is restoring consumer trust in solar by building a rural solar technician network in East Africa to fix and service solar products and systems. They recruit and train men and women as technicians/franchisee entrepreneurs, providing them with vocational training, business set-up support, replacement part & new product inventory, and branded marketing. Their goal is to build a regional servicing/distribution network and supply chain that will create thousands of jobs, promote women and men as technically-skilled entrepreneurs, and increase community access to affordable & reliable clean energy.
They have found that repairs result in more credibility than the best sales pitch. At the same time, their field research and focus groups have shown that accessibility and affordability remain such big barriers for many rural communities that there is not enough solar adoption for trust to be an issue. Therefore, they aim to simultaneously tackle accessibility, affordability, and trust through their network of branded solar shops that can also provide guaranteed repairs within 48 hours. The phone-charging micro-entrepreneurs will not only be PayGo customers, but will also serve as demonstrators and commision-based sales agents, thus expanding the presence even deeper into remote areas.