Please find below some of the questions raised during the webinar, further grouped by themes.
Products / Technology:
- Samina Ali: For Klara: is mobisol systems and appliances in direct current?
- Reja Amatya: Klara - Aren't DC appliances more expensive than their AC counterpart (for example DC fridge is more expensive than AC fridge of same capacity). Who are your vendors - local or exported product? Also would be more economical to pair inverter with cheaper AC appliances? - Reja Amatya at MIT, Cambridge, USA
- Samina Ali: Klara, Dan, Simon: How do attach the systems effectively in order to avoid damages from hurricanes and typhoons? How long of a historical hurricane and typhoon data do you look at in order to assess the required strength of the mounting system? Can you please give us examples of hurricane proofing a power system on the roof and on the ground each? - Samina Ali with Boreal Renewable Energy Development
- Yong Chen: At what stage would you determine to expand by adding moduls?
- Samina Ali: Klara, Dan, Simon: Can you give examples of your favorite DC appliance manufacturers?
- POL ARRANZ: from UPC (Technical University Catalonia - Barcelona): to Dan. What is the advantage of your meter vs other existing solutions such as the Dispenser Meter ?? http://www.circutor.es/docs/dispensador_gb.pdf - I could not see any advantage...
- Kavita Ravi: Klara, are the DC appliances more efficient because they are engineered to work under these conditions? Was your comparison to efficient AC appliances?
- Samina Ali: Dan: What is the O&M cost of a SparkMeter and how often does this require replacement?
- Jane Oyugi: Dan - are you using any open source in your meter?
- Samina Ali: Dan: How expandable is your microgrid system in terms of plug and play? It seems that it is difficult to include another load when an existing customer is using extra load or his/her neighbor wants to join the microgrid system. The question is how long does it take to expand the existing microgrid system?
- Yong Chen: how about the warrant after the 18 month? O&M system set up as well, by whom? How run it?
Financing / Scale:
- Lorenz Artaker: Klara, you mentioned that the SHS is paid off in 36 months. Hence, your model appears to be more of a classic consumer financing model, as opposed to a pay-as-you go model. Could you please explain?
- Yong Chen: how is the cost structure to set up the system? How much cost consumers? Financing instrument?
- Charlotte Ward: For Dan (from GSMA): What geographical settlement parameters have determined customer demand to make the grid costs viable? And also is the serviced aimed at both basic and productive energy use
- Tim Young: Dan: what is the cost for a system for, say, 100 households?
- vikas kumar: to Dan & Klara - How many houses do you need to breakeven?
- Samina Ali: Klara and Dan: What is a typical household kW load and how many of these do you need to breakeven?
- Samina Ali: Dan: what is the seasonal variability of load profile at the Les Anglais system?
- Lorenz Artaker: Simon, do I understand correctly that every time the customer is recharging the system, this also counts towards the repayment of the system in 18 months? Or does it mean that after 18 months of using the system they have the right to purchase it? At what price?
- Alastair Livesey: Simon: What percentage of people have upgraded every 18 months?
- Reja Amatya: Simon - what is the cost for your company to hold such a large product portfolio with different sets of power systems? As a company, it would probably be the cheapest for you to have only 1-2 sets of PV panels that you can buy in bulk.
- Michael Rohrer: Two questions to all the speakers: First, how do you generally pre-finance new systems (loans, donations, etc.)? Second, do you plan to franchise or license your systems to interested parties?
- Joseph Mgullo: Simon, have you considered the possibility of joint financing with a key user like the mobile operator?
- Vyjayanti Desai: What would it take to scale up your model outside of Tanzania? How many countries would you consider implementing this business?
- Daniel Vickery: Klara, have you had any problems with customers disassembling your control appliance from the battery?
- Benjamin Materna: Klara, how do you determine the risk management per each new customer? -Benjamin with standard microgrid.
- Samina Ali: for Klara: How do you assess credit worthiness for the poorest of the poor?
- Kamalesh Doshi: Hi Klara, what happens if the customer does not pay and charging of battery continues?
- Samina Ali: For Klara: How often do you come across situations where the customers cannot pay for power anymore and then who owns the appliances and the PV system? Do you go back to the customer site to collect the unused power system that cost lot more than the initial pre-paid value the customer paid once?
- Lorenz Artaker: Dan, how do you avoid customers circumventing the sparkmeter, and connecting directly to grid?
- Reja Amatya: From your experience, how quickly people move to the next tier of appliances? How quickly/often their economic situation turn around for them to afford more electrical appliances? - Reja Amatya at MIT
- Tomoo Machiba: How do you insure yourself from unforeseeable risk - for example, in case subscribers have to leave home temporarily or permanently due to natural disasters, wars/conflicts, etc.?
- Adam Camenzuli: Klara & Simon: How do you reach the very rural people? With the large up-front capital required, is scaling a problem?
Tariffs / Regulations:
- Alastair Livesey: Klara, What regulations apply to Mobisol in Tanzania. I assume you need to register as an electricity provider? Are your tariffs set by Govt. Or as a lease business are you outside of the rural energy authority?
- Samina Ali: Dan: How long is your typical microgrid installation period? What are the major regulatory and permitting issues in Haiti?
- Lorenz Artaker: Dan, who determines the tariffs on the micro grids? Is this something that is set by the government, or free to set by the private sector operator of the micro grid?
Relation with Mobile Network Operators:
- Joseph Mgullo: Klara, other than using the mobile operator communication services, in which areas do you work with them? How does the operator get value?
- Alejandro CORE: Question for Klara, what happened if the Telecom service is not reliable?
- Alejandro CORE: Dan, what happened if the Telecom service is not reliable, then you can not connect to the Spark meter?
- Samina Ali: Dan: Can SparkMeter operate fully using mobile network in the case of lack of WiFi?
- Alejandro CORE: Simon, what happened if the Telecom service is not reliable, and your device do not receive the SMS message?
Thanks Yann for organising such a great Webinar!
To answer some of the questions:
Lorenz: Yes, the customer purchases credit weekly and the system is unlocked after a certain number of credits (typically 70)
Alistair: We are at early stages of people upgrading (it takes about 18 months to cycle through the first product) but early evidence suggests a high demand for larger systems when people can afford them
Reja; the cost of a system is made up of many parts - panel, lights, cables, battery, housings etc. Standardisation really helps but actually not so much of the panels - solar is a commodity and there is little economies of scale for these.
Michael / Joseph: We fund our systems partly from our own resources and partly with financial partners. As time goes on, financial partners will play an ever greater role in funding the units. We work with operators but as yet none has shown an interest in funding systems.
Adam: Reaching rural people is certainly a challenge. It is all down to finding and growing the right partners in country and creating the systems to keep transport and support costs low. I don't think there is any quick fix here.
Alejandro: Generally SMS is reliable (as in it will get through eventually) but sometimes there is a delay if the network is particularly patchy. One of the advantages of allowing users to get their codes with any phone is they can move to an area of better coverage (say at the edge of a village) if necessary
Feel free to reach out with any questions. More information is available at www.azuri-technologies.com