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M-KOPA Solar Home System


As I came off a hot and dusty Nairobi street into the bustling Safaricom shop, people were lining up for brand-new Android smartphones. But I was far more interested in a small stand showcasing a solar lighting and phone charging system from mobile start-up M-KOPA.

These systems come in two flavors: One consists of a control box, solar panel, USB phone-charging cable, and three LED lights, and the other adds a portable lamp, and a solar chargeable radio to the mix. The control box itself is a lightweight, hardcover book-sized gadget that has a strong rechargeable battery, a GPS cell modem, LCD status screen, and connection points for a 4-watt solar cell, LED lights (designed by U.S. solar lighting startup d.light Solar), and a USB port.

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