M-KOPA Solar provides a technology platform that combines embedded GSM + mobile payments to enable solar home system financing. The M-KOPA IV is a combined solar home system with PAYG functionality and end user appliances. Appliances include lights, a torch, radio and USB ports for device use.
M-KOPA IV is currently discontinued, and it has been replace by the M-KOPA 5 Solar Home System.
M-KOPA Solar is located in Nairobi, Kenya with additional operations in Uganda and Tanzania.
Market Suggested Retail Price
Distributors / Implementing Organizations
M-KOPA Solar distributes and implements the systems in a partnership with Safaricom.
Intellectural Property Type
User Provision Model
Users can obtain the product from M-KOPA retail locations. M-KOPA relies on direct sales representatives, or agents of each retail location to manage sales. There are over 100 retail locations across the three M-KOPA target markets (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania).
Distributions to Date Status
As of July 2016, 375,000 M-KOPA SHS units have been distributed. Of those units, roughly 75,000 are M-Kopa IV, 150,000 M-Kopa III and the remainder are the previous M-KOPA models.Interview with representative
Description of power outputs
Description of light points
2 LED lights and 1 LED torch
Total lighting service (lumen-hours per solar-day)
1,700 with main lights and torch on high, 1,600 with main lights on high and 1,800 with main lights on low.
Peak power rating (Wp)
Battery capacity (kWh; mAh)
Main unit: 3,200 mAh, Torch: 580 mAh, Radio: 1,100 mAh.
Nominal battery voltage (V)
Main unit: 6.4 V, Torch: 3.2 V.
Lithium iron phosphate
User replaceable battery (yes/no)
Remote system diagnostics (yes/no)
Mobile service required (yes/no)
The system includes:
- 8 watt solar panel
- 2 LED bulbs with cables and switches
- 1 LED portable and rechargeable torch
- Phone charging UBS with 5 standard connections
- 1 rechargeable radio
Contact M-KOPA. If technical questions are within the warranty period, M-KOPA will cover the repair costs. Outside of the warranty, M-KOPA can repair the system at a prescribed cost.
Customers can purchase system components individually to replace parts of their original system or to upgrade their system.
5 years with a 24 month warranty on the solar panel, control unit and light points and 12 month for torch, radio and charging cables.Interview with representative
Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters
Payback rate of 95%Interview with representative
Vetted Performance Status
This product meets the Lightning Global Quality Standards. According to the tests conoducted to this product, the full battery run time of the M-KOPA IV Solar Home System varies from 1.1 to 13 hours depending on the brightness setting used (main lights/torch, high/low brightness radio On). The total lightning service also varies depending on the brightness setting, from 160o to 1800 lumen-hour/solar-day. The lumen maintenance corresponds to 100% the original output along 2,000 hours run time. The product also meets the following durability tests: Drop test, switch and connector cycling, strain relief test, physical ingress protection test. protection from occasional rain for the main unit and radio and protection from frequent rain for the torch. Regarding the battery, the system counts with an appropriate battery protection circuit.
Customers should follow proper electrical installation and control guidelines. It is not recommended that non-trained customers open the case of components such as batteries and solar modules, nor try to replace electrical components.
Academic Research and References
Rastogi C., 2018, M-Kopa Solar: Lightning Up the Dark Continent, South Asian Journal of Business and Management Cases, 7:2, 93-103
Wiche S., Chidziwizano G., Uwimbabazi F., Simiyu N., 2018, Defamiliarizing the Domestic: Exploring “M-Kopa Solar” and Sustainable Practices in Rural Kenyan Households, ACM COMPASS 2018, California, USA.
Alstone, P., Gershenson, D., Kammen, D.M., 2015, Decentralized energy systems for clean electricity access, Nature Climate Change, Mar 25;5:305-314.
Harper, M., 2013, Review of strategies and technologies for demand-side management on isolated mini-grids, Arcata (CA): Humboldt State University.
Rever, W.B., Mints, P.J., 2014, Remote markets 2.0: the next wave of PV expansion, PVSC, 13;40:2556-3561.
Compliance with regulations
Until 2019, this product meets the Lightning Global Quality Standards, based on the IEC Technical Specification 62257-9-5:2018: Recommendations for renewable energy and hybrid systems for rural electrification. The compliance expired in April 2019, and by June 2020 no new certification is related to this product.
Video showcasing M-Kopa distribution system and customer support.