Solar Energy Hubs for Last-Mile Access
An international jury of experts selected Jaza Energy as the 2021 EEP Africa Scale Up Project of the Year for its battery rental service and network of women-operated solar energy hubs in Tanzania.
Jaza has pioneered a way to deliver solar energy in last-mile communities by putting women at the centre of its business model. The company has deployed 63 hubs across three regions (Pemba, Kigoma and Mtwara), providing electricity to 51,000 people. The hubs are operated 100% by women, referred to as Jaza Stars, who are hired from the local community.
“Jaza achieved impressive volume in general, but what really impressed us was the ability to serve a demanding customer segment, with almost 80% of Jaza’s customers earning less than $2 per day,” said Aleksi Lumijärvi, Program Manager at the Nordic Development Fund and chair of the award jury. “What also inspired us was the concept of Jaza Stars – empowering women in their own communities by offering them these opportunities.”
Jaza Energy was awarded EEP Africa financing in 2019 to scale up its business model and operations. The Jaza battery pack can power lighting and small appliances, offering affordable electricity to households and rural micro-enterprises. Customers pay a small fee to exchange expended batteries for fully charged ones. During the grant period, the company developed and launched a new model of battery, increased its sales volumes, and strengthened operations. Jaza has also raised USD 2.85 million in additional financing.
2021 was a breakout year for Jaza. The company grew its monthly swap volumes from 13,000 in January to 65,000 in September, tripling swap revenue. Jaza also introduced a smart phone offering for top users and quadrupled its customer satisfaction score. The company employs 180 women in operational and leadership roles in Tanzania and has begun testing its model in a new market, with hubs set to launch soon in Nigeria.
“I am elated that Jaza won this award… I would like to thank the Jaza Stars, our rural women who work with technology to power their communities. It’s a group of amazing women that I live and work with every day and I’m excited that they have been acknowledged,” said Cindy Bavo, Director of People and Culture at Jaza Energy. “I extend thanks to our Jazarians – our entire Jaza community that makes this possible and helps us put stars on the map. I cannot forget to thank EEP Africa… you have provided a lot of support from the beginning and helped us provide better products that can serve our customers.”
The Project of the Year award celebrates outstanding achievement by an EEP Africa portfolio company. This year the award was split into two categories – Start Up and Scale Up – in order to recognize both companies that are growing and on their way to broader impact as well as companies that are still in early stages but succeeding in innovating or opening the market. The jury named Powerlive Zimbabwe as 2021 Start Up Project of the Year.
EEP Africa thanks all the 2021 Project of the Year nominees, finalists and jury members. Watch the recording of the award announcement (starting at 1:05:00) and learn about the recipients of EEP Africa’s 2021 Rising Energy Leader award.
Learn more about Jaza Energy:
EEP Africa case study: Putting Stars on the Map
Humanising Energy film: The Women Behind Energy Alternatives in Tanzania