Kigali, October 14, 2022
PRESS RELEASE - SOLARKIOSK and EAST AFRICAN POWER join forces to build THE PULSE, solar powered malls for business, productivity, and leisure throughout rural African communities
Picture 1: The JV between Solarkiosk Solutions “SKS” & East African Power “EAP” was agreed at the 2022 SE4ALL Forum in Kigali. From left to right: Thomas Rieger, Founder & CEO SKS; Dan Klinck, Founder & CEO of EAP; Andreas Spiess, Founder & non-executive Chairman, SKS
Kigali, Rwanda on October 14, 2022 – Solarkiosk Solutions (SKS) and East African Power (EAP) are announcing a joint venture to deploy solar-powered THE PULSE centers throughout rural communities in Rwanda and the African Great Lakes region. This joint venture brings together SKS’ extensive expertise running rural retail and productive-use businesses and EAP’s decade of experience in renewable energy development and operations.
THE PULSE Rwanda is a countrywide network of solar-powered rural malls for business, productivity and leisure. These malls offer premium facilities, modern infrastructure, notably power and connectivity, and exclusive products and services. THE PULSE offers a delightful experience to underserved bottom of the pyramid clients while addressing profitability issues of last-mile markets in rural Africa for B2B clients – local entrepreneurs, small-holder farmers, international businesses and NGOs. The network and the underlying proprietary technology enable businesses in otherwise challenging areas to thrive by establishing a sustainable marketplace connecting previously informal rural markets to global supply chains. This network gives our partners access to a formal distribution platform and an integrated value chain to capture Africa’s massive rural market, which amounts to USD 8.3 billion annually in Rwanda alone.
The Pulse Centers will bring together local services, like a hairdresser, cinema, restaurant, retail store, and innovative products in clean water, cold storage, e-mobility, clean cooking, crop and harvest management, agro-processing and trade among others. This ecosystem is designed to create profitable synergies for all partners involved. It attracts more customers, thus more businesses, increasing economic output while minimizing operating costs. We thereby provide access to new value chains and alleviate the poverty trap in rural Africa. Formal supply chains and demand densification avail better, more affordable products and services which, in terms, create new income opportunities and jobs. Each THE PULSE center is scalable thanks to its modular design and can become the anchor load of decentralized mini-grids as surrounding communities grow wealth and adopt power organically. THE PULSE, by concentrating productive use of energy technologies and appliances, will become the seed of utilities 3.0.
Picture 2: Architectural impression on the setup of THE PULSE Hubs
Starting with Rwanda, the joint venture will establish 69 THE PULSE Centers. Each center will be managed through the proprietary ERP system and local operators. A first pilot Center is currently being implemented in Rwanda’s Eastern Province, where a 10 kW off-grid solar system and bespoke productive-use appliances will empower 10 local entrepreneurs and international solution providers to service the Ruhunda community.
“It gives me enormous pleasure to partner with EAP. We have followed EAP´s steady growth and success in East Africa closely and we are therefore excited to jointly establish a radically new approach to rural energy access and economic empowerment. Solarkiosk has successfully tested the solar rural mall concept in four African countries. Based on encouraging data and the blueprints established thereupon, we are convinced that THE PULSE will become a Pan-African success story, tackling the only remaining last frontier: remote rural “off-the-grid” populations throughout Africa” said Thomas Rieger, CEO Solarkiosk.
“EAP is thrilled to partner with Solarkiosk to build and operate THE PULSE centers in Rwanda and beyond. As pioneers in the rural, off-grid market in Africa, Solarkiosk has accumulated extensive IP and priceless wisdom in last-mile distribution and retail. Combined with our track record in community-centered energy development, THE PULSE will realize the full potential of energy access while fixing the economics of distributing to last-mile, Bottom-of-the-Pyramid markets. The 69 centers in Rwanda will demonstrate beyond doubt the platform effect of demand densification, supply chain formalization and amalgamation of productive-use solutions”, said Dan Klinck, CEO East African Power.
Celine Umurenzi, Lead Solar Project Engineer East African Power adds “The lack of viable energy access and last-mile business models have held back the inclusive development of Africa. THE PULSE finally offers a sustainable and holistic approach to connecting – through power, infrastructure and business – rural, often off-grid communities to national and global value chains. I’m thrilled to lead the technical development of the Centers to ensure uninterrupted service to those that need it most”.
Solarkiosk Solutions GmbH, a Berlin based company, has established and operated East Africa’s largest rural retail network with 239 managed retail shops in 5 Sub-Sahara African countries, including 74 in Rwanda. SKS is responsible for the implementation of the business infrastructure and the development of the platform approach by providing blueprints, systems, processes, seconding managers, as well as partnering with international companies and organizations to connect them with THE PULSE Rwanda Ltd. via a designated physical and digital platform approach.
East African Power is an integrated renewable energy development and engineering company delivering sustainable and affordable energy solutions. In the last 10 years, EAP has delivered 12 operational power projects and deployed more than $50M in CAPEX. EAP is now the largest solar EPC service provider in Rwanda and has projects in development across 7 countries. EAP is responsible for the design, procurement, construction, operation, and maintenance of THE PULSE centers as well as ensuring compliance with highest ESG standards.
The original press release can be found here.