Issuer: SolarWorks! Trading B.V.
Maturity: 36 months, semi-annually and linearly amortizing
Interest rate: 7.5% p.a.
Non-recall period: N.A. Issuer is allowed to repay the loan early at all times against a 2% penalty fee on the amount prepaid. In case the company sells more than 50% of its shares, no penalty fee will apply if prepayment occurs.
This is a direct investment 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.
SolarWorks! was founded in 2008 by industrial designer Bernard Hulshof and econometrist Arnoud de Vroomen. The SolarWorks! development centre is based at the incubator of the University of Technology in Delft (The Netherlands). Here products design and R&D is conducted. The distribution of the Solar Home Systems is implemented in Mozambique, where over 80% of the 29 million inhabitants do not have access to electricity. Mozambique is an untapped market with fast growing mobile money penetration which is an important driver behind the fast growing sales of Pay-As-You-Go sales.
SolarWorks! offers a range of products of which the majority is used in households, however more and more small businesses are using our services too: they are using the larger systems to have their equipment running on solar systems instead of on generators or old car batteries. SolarWorks! distributes Solar Home Systems based on a Pay-As-You-Go technology in Mozambique to make access to electricity affordable: through mobile payments people unlock their system for a day, a week or a month. After 24 or 36 months the system is unlocked forever and owned by the customer. SolarWorks! uses systems that are easy to upgrade: people can start with a smaller system (three lights and phone charging) and grow gradually with the growth of their income to larger systems (lighting, charging, television and refrigeration) without having to buy a completely new system.
SolarWorks! has already installed 6,000 systems in Mozambique and aims to install another 15,000 systems in the coming 12 months. Through a partnership with Vodacom, the SolarWorks! systems are now also available in the Vodacom stores. SolarWorks! has a regional approach: every three months a new region is opened which needs to have a positive return within 18 months from opening. SolarWorks! attracted 2 million of equity in the past year to scale its operations and is preparing another investment round to accelerate growth in Mozambique towards the north of the country where the biggest potential is. This project focusses on the Beira area.
With this project SolarWorks! will be able to install 1,850 Solar Home Systems in the Sofala province, providing 1,850 households with access to solar energy. SolarWorks! offers its systems with a solar panel of 10 watts, 50 watts or 100 watts. The expectation is that in about 30% of the cases, the smaller Solar Home Systems (10 watts) will, upon customer request, be upgraded to larger systems. All SolarWorks! products have a three year warranty.
Clients can opt for a 24 month, a 30 month or a 36 month repayment schedule depending on the amount they are able to pay per month. SolarWorks! prides itself on a very low default rate as it has put a lot of effort in selecting clients that can afford the Pay-As-You-Go-contracts and is making people aware of what they are about to sign. To measure customer satisfactions, a call centre can be reached to help out customer in case of questions.
The Solar PowerBox is the smallest Solar Home System (10 watts) SolarWorks! offers and is a good way to introduce customers to using solar power in their homes. The system is able to power three lights and charges phones as well as tablets. Customers are asked for a down payment of USD 14 after which they pay USD 7 per month for 36 months. After completing the payment schedule the customers will become the system's owner. Due to the small repayments, the systems are made affordable for everyone.
Impact of the project
Solar Home Systems improve the lives of the average family that lives off-grid. Suddenly there is light in the house and children can study in the evening resulting in better school performance. Respiratory diseases are avoided as kerosene lamps are replaced by a clean energy source. Small business can expand their business with our systems and employ more people that in turn can start using solar energy. The direct and indirect impact of solar home system is a real life changer!
Vision & Mission of SolarWorks!
Bringing life changing products to off grid Africa
SolarWorks! aims to bring life changing solutions to emerging markets against the lowest cost possible for the customer but in a financially, socially and environmentally sustainable way. True to our roots, technology will always play an important role in this: in both product designs as well as executing a business model.
SolarWorks! puts a lot of effort in finding the right customer: the ideal customer is someone that lives without electricity and has not only enough income to really be able to afford the SolarWorks! product but also has an aspirational attitude in life. As their income grows they want to fulfil their dreams of having appliances like television, refrigerators and in the future even air conditioning in their house. As long as SolarWorks! is able to give them the solutions that fulfil their dreams, we are convinced they will not just buy one system from us but will remain loyal customers.
The role of technology
By working together with the University of Technology in Delft, we are in the fortunate position to have access to a broad range of technology. Where 10 years ago we used a very hardware-orientated technology for product design, we now see a shift to the use of mobile payment technology: machine learning by using data (including for example weather forecast data) and fintech (e.g. sophisticated credit rating apps and banking on your phone). All these technologies will be used to retain our customers and keep on giving them the energy services that fit the user profile and income.
Team in Mozambique
Casper Sikkema (CCO and managing director of SolarWorks Mozambique)
After 10 years of M&A positions (consultant at DB&S and corporate at IHC Merwede) Casper worked as CEO of a skin care solutions company with a leasing business model. His urge to do something that can change lives, ideally in emerging markets, resulted in him joining SolarWorks in 2015 to set up the Pay-As-You-Go business in Mozambique.
Miguel Sotomaior (Country Director Mozambique)
Miguel is a sales focussed country manager that knows how to inspire large groups of sales people in tough circumstances. At the same time he knows how important processes are to make a company grow. He brings many years of experience in Europe and Africa (Angola) to the table and is a key player in SolarWorks! success.
Silvio Numaio (Finance Manager Mozambique)
Silvio has a solid background in financial accounting, audit and management accounting and has worked in various sectors in Mozambique (oa agriculture, retail). He is in charge of financial management of SolarWorks! Mozambique.
After working for the customer support centre Vodacom/Mpesa, Ancha was recruited to set up the call centre and back office of SolarWorks! in Mozambique. She runs a team of 20 people from the SolarWorks! office in Maputo to make sure all customers have systems installed, their questions answered and are paying their Pay-As-You-Go amounts.
Nelson Chichava (Area Manager Manhicha)
Manhicha was the second region that was opened in Mozambique (about 80km north of the capital). Nelson started as sales agent and now runs a complete area with over 10 sales agents and a core support team
Delfina Valgy (Area Manager Matola)
Delfina was originally recruited as management assistant for the head office but soon she showed that she wanted more responsibilities. She is now in charge of the biggest sales region and has a team of 20 people working for her.
Team in Delft
Arnoud de Vroomen (CEO and co-founder)
Arnoud has been involved in emerging markets, in particular Africa, since 1995. After working for Unilever for many years and being in charge of a carbon credit company, he founded SolarWorks! together with Bernard Hulshof in 2008 after they worked on a solar lighting project together in Madagascar in 2007. Arnoud studied econometrics at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and has a post graduate in finance.
Bernard Hulshof (Design Director and co-founder)
Bernard graduated in 2007 on a prototype of a lamp that uses solar energy to charge the battery. A year later he founded SolarWorks! with Arnoud de Vroomen. Bernard Hulshof is responsible for the design of the SolarWorks! products and created the current modular Solar Home Systems.
Thomas de Wijn (COO)
Thomas worked in various supply chain positions for L’Oreal since 2004 in The Netherlands and the UK. After doing work for a cooperation in Guatamala (ICAmigos), he started actively looking for a position where he could use his experience and at the same time bringing life changing products to people that really need them. Thomas is in charge of the complete supply chain: from purchasing components until the final installation at customer.
Delft University of Technology/Delft Global Initiative – See https://www.tudelft.nl/global/. A cooperation in which technology is central to improve lives, anywhere in the world.
Vodacom – sales cooperation agreement in Mozambique to sell SolarWorks! products in Vodacom stores and via Vodacom agents.
Hypoport – fintech company: SolarWorks! and Hypoport developed a credit rating app for the rural African market where credit worthiness depends on many other things than just having a steady income.