SunTransfer Kenya Ltd

With a loan of EUR 100,000 SunTransfer is able to provide 250 solar home systems and 500 solar lanterns to rural households.

  • Direct investment
  • 12 new jobs
  • 1100 people reached
  • 250 solar systems installed
  • 75 tons of CO2 reduced



24 months



Annual interest
Fully funded in 23 days on 26 August 2017.
+ 260 other investors

IMPORTANT NOTE: high risk product - direct loan to solar power product distribution company. No local partner in between to cover risks. 

Basic info:

Issuer: SunTransfer Kenya Investments Ltd
Currency: EURO
Amount: 100,000, senior debt
Maturity: 24 months, semi-annually and linearly amortizing
Collateral: None
Interest rate: 6% p.a.

Direct loan

This is a direct loan to a company (rather than lending to a financial institution) and therefore it is recommendable that you are careful with the amount you will invest. 



Registered in Aug/2009, SunTransfer Kenya (STKE) is a solar company in Kenya with a bold mission – transforming rural lives and livelihoods through off-grid solar. We are driven and inspired by the challenge of making quality solar energy accessible and affordable to over 6 million households or 70% of the off-grid households in Kenya, majority of whom are at the bottom of they pyramid (BOP).  At the core of STKE innovation is designing, testing and scaling last-mile distribution models to deliver the twin goals of accessibility and affordbility of quality solar energy to the BOP in Kenya. We are energized by the difference we have made thus far, distributing over 50,000 solar lanterns and nearly 5,000 solar home systems, thereby transforming nearly 100,000 lives and livelihoods in some of the most rural and remote regions of Kenya. The great news is that this just the begining; STKE’s future is brighter and our promise even bigger.

Our bold mission is delivered through four key operational strategies:

  1. “full energy” service beyond kerosene displacement –STKE recognizes that the energy demands by the BOP go far beyond “kerosene displacement.” Just like the grid-connected middle-class, BOP h/holds and their micro-businesses require “full power” to enjoy quality lighting, entertainment, communication, refrigeration, and water pumping. Thus, our model enables BOP access “full power” from large solar systems (20-200Wp) combined with highly efficient DC appliances to deliver Tier 3 of energy services (800Wh/day). According to the UN/Sustainable Energy for All Framework, Tier 3 goes beyond lighting to deliver sufficient energy to run basic h/hold appliances e.g. radio, TV and tablet computer and also productive applications e.g. small fridge, a DC sewing machine, a DC grain mill or small water pump (120 gallons/hr).
  2. lease-to-own model via our “pay-as-you-go” mobile payment platform known as M-SOLAR. By enabling the BOP to pay and own quality solar systems via small instalments  (e.g. €0.5 per day or €15/month), our M-SOLAR solution removes the major upfront-cost barrier faced by the BOP. Further, our “lease-to-own” model coverts energy expenditure into an asset purchase (solar system) and also transforms the BOP from consumers of costly and polluting fuels (e.g. kerosene) into a ready mass market for clean energy, thus accelerating transition to more sustainable societies.  Micro-payments are delivered via mobile phones, making our "lease-to-own" solution highly accessible, cost-effective and scalable to the large BOP market (6 million h/holds).
  3. building a rural network of solar centers (SCs) equipped with well-trained solar technicians offering the much-needed technical knowhow and after-sale service.
  4. local assembly and “green jobs” – STKE invests heavily in technology and skills transfer by recruiting and training an army of solar technicians, including girls, to guarantee quality installations while creating the much-needed "green jobs" and development impacts in the rural areas.

The project (Part I of II)

Investing in STKE at this stage is crucial and timely because the critical systems and processes of our business model are in place, well-aligned and ready to scale. Over the past 2 years, STKE has registered phenomenal growth and demonstrated significant market traction and revenue promise – in 2016, total sales revenue reached nearly USD 1 Mio and in 2017 we project to grow by 30% to hit USD 1,3 Mio. Our rural network of SCs has grown to 13 and our sales revenue has averaged  USD 100k/month. We aim to deliver USD 120-140k/month by Q4/2017.

Our current HR capacity stands at 75 staff, with a high field deployment ratio of 1:4 i.e. only 1 staff in Head Office (Nairobi) for every 4 staff in the field where the key KPIs of sales and customer service are delivered. Moreover, in 2016 we invested heavily in developing and rolling-out our IMS solution known as SIMS (SunTransfer Information Management System) which now integrates 4 key modules: a) Financial management and reporting; b) Credit management; c) Inventory Management and d) HR management. SIMS is now fully integrated with Safaricom/Mpesa mobile payment platform, making it possible for clients to make all payments via mobile phone and to receive credit codes (or tokens), payments reminders and transaction statements automatically via the short-test service (SMS).

We invite you to invest in STKE because a loan of EUR 100K will make a critical difference in the following four ways: 1) import a 40-foot container full of 750 different types of solar systems – 250 solar home systems and 500 solar lanterns; 2) expand our product range to include innovative solar solutions such as fishing lights, barber shaving kits and phone charging kits to power rural businesses, thus transform lives and livelihoods; 3) expand the credit period from the current 18 months to 24 months to match the LAH loan maturity cycle, thus contribute to the achievement our key goal of affordability to the BOP; 4) expand our network into Western and Nyanza regions, two areas which command roughly 50% of the potential off-grid solar market in Kenya due to the relatively high population density and low-grid penetration.

  1. Education and health
    Over 90% of rural households in Kenya still rely on kerosene for lighting. This particularly harmful for young children and deny them the opportunity for using a bright and clean solar light for evening study. Below is Kirubi, CEO STKE, marketing a solar lantern to parents, teachers and pupils in in Nasigel primary school in Kenya. The LAH loan will import about 500 units of such solar lanterns, thus impact the lives of 500 households or 2,500 pupils assuming 5 kids/household.
  2. Solar pumps to improve food security and adaptation to climate change
    To appreciate this impact, meet Lillian Ogindi, a 27 years old single mother working hard to make a living from small-scale farming in Western Kenya. For most of her life, Lilian’s small-scale farming has been labour-intensive, using buckets to irrigate two acres of her four-and-a-half-acre farm. Before she got our solar pump, Lilian was hiring three people twice a week to do the work and watering on the farm. The costs added up to 1,200 KES ($12) a week. But, in her testimony, acquiring a solar pump and two sprinklers has indeed transformed her live.  “First of all, I save 1,200 KES ($12) per week because the pump is portable and I don’t need to hire any labor,” a relaxed Lilian notes with a smile on her face. Additionally, Lilian hopes to earn roughly Usd100 per month from growing and selling green vegetables in the local market and hotels. Lilian’s story offer compelling testimony to the huge socio-economic impact solar pumps can make not just in improving food security but also in adapting to climate change in rural Kenya.
  3. Creation of 150 green jobs
    This will be achieved by recruiting and training at least 10 Sales Agent per SC x 15 SCs. Majority of the Agents will be women and youth from the local villages, which is another very effective strategy of leveraging off-grid solar to transform lives and livelihoods in rural Kenya

Additional information

Description of Vision & Mission:

STKE vision is making quality solar energy accessible and affordable to every household and small business in rural Kenya. Our bold mission is transforming lives and livelihoods through the deployment of quality solar products and services. Our innovation frontier is at two levels: a) last-mile distribution channels and b) affordability - based on pay-as-you-go mobile-phone based platforms. The vision is making buying solar as simple and affordable as sending an SMS!

For example, unlike many other PAYGO solutions in the market, our PAYGO system (M-SOLAR) does not use a simcard making it ideal for the vast regions of rural Kenya with poor mobile and internet network coverage. Instead, our clients receive via their mobile phones a simple 4-digit CODE which they easily load on their solar systems using a simple keypad. The code unlocks the system for the duration corresponding to the payment made typically one month. While simcard based solutions permit real-time control and monitoring, field experience shows that they pose high and frequent risks of poor connectivity and down-times in regions with poor mobile network where majority of our core BOP market lives.

Management team:

Gathu Kirubi (founder & CEO)
Kirubi is a self-made solar energy entrepreneur, a strategic thinker and a team builder. He brings over 15 years of deep passion and proven business acumen in creating and implementing innovative business models for delivering off-grid solar solutions to communities and micro-enterprises in rural Kenya. In 2001, was the Program Manager for the Renewable Energy Technology Assistance Programme (RETAP), a UNDP funded NGO, where he established and managed a US$1 million microfinance scheme to finance improved cookstoves for rural schools and SMEs in East Africa. In 2001, he won the prestigious Ashden Awards (UK) for his innovation and leadership in energy access for the BOP in Africa. In 2004, Kirubi won yet another prestigious e8 global scholarship Award to the University of California, Berkeley where he earned both an MSc and PhD in Energy and Development.

Bernard Kinyanjui (Operations Manager)
Bernard is a dynamic and resourceful team leader, with a knack for mentoring and motivating diverse teams to deliver results. He brings over 10 years of relevant experience in credit and micro-finance having worked as a Credit Officer and Branch Manager in Faulu Kenya Deposit Taking Microfinance. Bernard served as the Operations Manager (2013-2014) for Nuru East Africa, an off-grid Solar Company, and also as Project Manager in charge of Youth Enterprise at the County Government of Kiambu, Kenya.  In addition to developing and deploying a diverse range of sales growth channels at STKE, Bernard has been instrumental in expanding the network of Solar Centers across Kenya. Bernard holds a BA (HRM) and is also a Certified Public Secretary (K) and an Associate Member of the Institute of Human Resource Management (Kenya)

Jotham Maina (Finance Manager)
Jotham is a young and focused finance professional with strong analytical skills in financial management and accounting. Jotham’s career started as an Internal Auditor at White Rose Dry Cleaners Ltd (2010-12), where he developed keen professional interest and skills in internal financial controls and tracking compliance with a wide range of statutory obligations. With over six years experience in Finance and Accounting, Jotham has demonstrated competence in the critical roles of financial analysis, planning and reporting. In 2015, Jotham received strong commendation from AECF, one of our investors, for both prudent financial management and timely compliance with relevant reporting protocols. Jotham holds a B.Com (Finance) and is also a Certified Public Accountant of Kenya

Michael Kimani (Credit Manager)
Michael an astute Credit Manager, with over 10 years solid experience and strong credentials in credit management. Prior to joining STKE, Michael worked at Kenya Women Finance Trust (KWFT, a leading Micro-Finance Bank in Kenya, where he rose through the ranks from a Credit Officer to Branch Manager. His core competence includes credit appraisal and risk assessment which are central and critical for our end-user credit model for off-grid solar. Michael holds a Diploma in Business Administration.

Ben Kimathi (Training and Marketing Manager)
Ben is a critical thinker and a skilled marketer. He joined STKE in May/2011 as a junior marketing officer and one year later he was promoted to a Solar Center Manager, thanks to his charisma, flare for marketing and stamina to take on new challenges. Ben’s resourcefulness and networking skills have been instrumental in developing and testing different marketing strategies, forging new partnerships, and growing the network of our Solar Centers in rural Kenya. Prior to joining STKE, Ben worked as Team Leader at the Sustainable Africa Youth Foundation and also as Customer Service Assistant at Equity Bank. Ben holds a BSc (Environmental Sciences) and is pursuing MSc in the same field.

STKE has won the following highly competitive Awards:

  • In 2012 –the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF)
  • In 2014 – up-scaling Award from DEG of Germany (Deutsche Investitions- Und Entwicklungsgesellschaft Mbh)
  • In 2014 – Energy Access Award known as “Sustainable Energy Services Africa -SESA” from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Dutch Government
  • In 2017 - Low-Cost Housing Challenge Award from the Habitat for Humanity, Atlanta, USA.


Company nameSunTransfer Kenya Ltd
CEOGathu Kirubi
SectorSustainable energy projects

Impact of this project

  • With this investment 12 jobs are created
  • With this investment 1100 people are reached
  • With this investment 250 solar home systems are installed
  • With this investment 75 tons of CO2 are reduced

About the investment

TypeDirect investment
Funding target€100,000
Annual interest6.00%
Maturity24 months
Repayment periodSemiannually
Terms and conditionsShow
Note termsDownload

About the risks

What are the risks of investing money?

Our local partners cover the risk of currency exchange rates and loan defaults. They do this by maintaining financial reserves for this purpose . In addition, there is an option to claim their equity if needed. While these measures are intended to minimize the risk to funders, our local partners face risks of their own that could effect their ability to secure a loan. These include: - bankruptcy - currency exchange rates - fraud - operational risks - political and regulatory changes - natural disasters or epidemics.

If you invest direct in a company, hence not via a local partner, risks of default are not covered. As the risk that comes with direct lendings is generally higher than an investment through a local partner, the interest rate is also higher.

There is also some operational risk at Lendahand. An example might be that Lendahand is unable to find shareholders to finance their activities. In such a case, Lendahand will handle outstanding loans at the best of its ability. At the same time, our ability to legally address non-payment from local partners becomes understandably difficult.

How does Lendahand minimize the risks?

Local partners must adhere to our mission and work with us to provide loans that are affordable. This insures that local entrepreneurs have access to financing that allows them to grow their business. A local partner must also have a track record. In other words, they must have proven themselves as a meso-credit provider for SMEs. This means (for instance) that the partner must have a solid credit portfolio, along with enough buffers and equity to compensate for unexpected downturns. We also check the organizational structure of the partner and how robust their (internal) procedures are. Finally, the loans that a local partner receives via Lendahand must be in proportion to the partner's total balance sheet. A healthy balance between effectuating influence and independence is crucial. If you would like to receive more information on the financial indicators we employ, please contact us via

When currency exchange risks become too high for a local partner, Lendahand will urge the local partner to cover these risks. In some scenario's the local partner is contractually obliged to comply with these demands.

Lendahand will always conduct due diligence when a Company requests for a direct loan. To provide more insights on risks, an independent partie comes in to perform brief analysis on direct loans. The results can be downloaded on the project detail page of the direct loan. However, this analysis serves primarily as a tool for your own opinion and conclusion. Pay attention to the fact this analysis is not an investing advice.

Does Lendahand provide guarantee on the loans?

Normally we don't. Local partners take care of the repayment, even if (some) entrepreneurs are unable to do so themselves. If the local partner is for some reason unable to repay then there is a chance of partial or full loss of your money. For this reason Lendahand only selects financially solid partners based on strict criteria.

Also, for most direct loans no guarantee is provided. For these investments currency risks are covered however.

Sometimes - and only for some direct investments in Africa - our partner Sida, part of the Swedish government, will provide a guarantee with a maximum of 50%. If this is the case, it will be indicated explicitly.

Does Lendahand have a license or exemption?

Yes. The Dutch Authority Financial Markets (AFM) has provided Hands-on B.V. (with trade name 'Lendahand') in September 2016 with an investment firm license in accordance with article 2:96 of the Financial Markets Supervision Act (Wft). Placing orders on Lendahand's website is therefore an AFM regulated activity. Lendahand also meets its minimum capital requirements of EUR 125,000 following its license as required by De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB).

Lendahand uses an exemption from an approved prospectus that is available up to EUR 5 Million per year. 

How safe are my personal details?

We adhere to strict safety requirements with regards to private and payment details. All sensitive data is sent through an encrypted connection (https). Also, data is stored (encrypted) in a secured facility provided by AWS: the world largest hosting service. Customer documents can only be retrieved by a secured connection and multi-factor authentication.

What happens if the local currency devaluates?

Our local partners and Companies bear the exchange rate risks. We settle the loan, redemptions, and interest payments in euro.

Does Lendahand use a third foundation fund?

Lendahand works with Intersolve EGI: a Dutch financial institution that specialises in offering services in the field of payment settlement and electronic money. To be able to offer these financial services Intersolve EGI must comply with the applicable financial legislation. Intersolve EGI is therefore supervised by De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) and the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) and is in possession of a license to act as an Electronic Money Institution (and therefore also has a license as a Payment Institution). Your money will be deposited on a protected and secure bank account until the project you have invested in has been fully funded. Intersolve in no way has access to these funds. Once the project is fully funded, the money is transferred to the local partner or company in question.

What happens with my money if Lendahand goes bankrupt?

If Hands-On BV (containing the brand name Lendahand) would go bankrupt trades between Lendahand and payment service provider Intersolve EGI would cease immediately. Intersolve will then transfer the funds in your personal wallet to your bank account (Note: if at this time the project you have invested in has been fully funded and the money has thus been transferred to the local partner, these funds will not be transferred back to your bank account). Intersolve will then in consultation with a trustee handle all repayments between the investors and investees up until the final repayment of the last project has taken place.

Additionally, Lendahand is part of the investor compensation scheme (ICS). This scheme aims to compensate individuals and small businesses who have trusted money and or financial instruments (such as notes or options) to a licensed bank, investment firm or a financial institution in case the financial firm is unable to meet its obligations arising from claims related to the investment service (in other words, if Hands-On BV is not keeping track of the acquired notes by investors in the Wge depot correctly). The ICS guarantees an amount of up to EUR 20,000 per individual. For more information, go to

Why is my money going via Intersolve EGI?

As part of the AFM license for investment firms it is required that operational activities carried out by Lendahand (maintaining the website, contracting of local partners, legal issues, etc.) are strictly separated from financial transactions (payments made through the website). Intersolve takes care of the payments. This collaboration offers you more security, since your money is placed on a protected bank account immediately after you have made your payment.

What happens when a local partner goes bankrupt?

When a local partner goes bankrupt, there will be a chance that you lose (part of) the amount you lend. Obviously Lendahand will try to recover outstanding payments, but the success rate will be limited in such situations. For the investor there is no possibility to take action against the financial institution. From a legal point of view the local partners are separated, therefore it is recommendable to spread loans across different local partners.

About SunTransfer

Total assets€158,810
Revenue (per year)€99,100
Equity / total assets0.00%

We have already contributed for SunTransfer Kenya Ltd

Manfred Jansen
Dirk Rentmeester
Jos Schreur
Jan-Dik Boot
Gert Baas
+ and another