Mobisol Solar Home System
ENGIE Mobisol GmbH
A family of large solar home systems, ranging in power from 40 W to 200 W and designed to power businesses or larger appliances such as refrigerators.
The Mobisol Solar Home System is a large integrated home and business level energy system with a solar panel, battery, power electronics, appliances and pay-as-you-go functionality. ENGIE Mobisol GmbH systems are available with power ratings of 40, 80, 100, 120 and 200 Watts (some power ratings and component combinations are only available in certain markets). ENGIE Mobisol GmbH systems have larger generation capacities than similar solar home system products in East Africa to support more demanding appliances such as refrigerators, televisions and de-huskers for example.
Within each of the available power ratings, various options are available to customize the system to the user’s needs. Available components include: 3 to 12 LED light bulbs (2 W or 3.5 W), a TV (several sizes available), a radio, a phone charger and a Sun King Pico 50 Portable Lamp. More information is available here and here.
ENGIE Mobisol GmbH is located in Berlin, Germany, it manufactures the systems in Germany and China and has sales centres in Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania.
ENGIE Mobisol GmbH has sales and service centres at national and regional level and sales centres at local level in some regions of its target countries (Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya).
Prices in Kenya start at ~18 USD (1,898 KES)Converted on May 25th 2020 per month for 36 months and increase up to ~54 USD (5,721 KES) Converted on May 25th 2020 per month for 48 months depending on the system configuration being purchased. Costs and pricing plans vary for other markets, including the option to pay in cash up front for a discount. In certain situations, ENGIE Mobisol GmbH are willing to reduce total package price if the customer completes repayments within one to two years.
Payments can be made through various mobile money platforms in the target countries including M-Pesa, Tigo Pesa, Airtel Money and MTN Mobile Money.
Competing products in East Africa include:
Azuri 50W, TV120 Solar Home System
Various other Solar Home Systems are detailed in the E4C solutions library and a complete list of Solar Home Systems certified by Lighting Global can be found on their website.
Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy
Target users include individuals, households and private sector businesses looking to power productive use appliances and entertainment products as well as lighting.
ENGIE Mobisol GmbH manufactures different parts of its Solar Home Systems kits in Germany and China and then ships these components to Kenya for assembly.
The kit assembly process and manufacturer supply is monitored by ENGIE Mobisol GmbH and each of the system’s components are put through a series of quality tests. The system appliances are sourced from a third party and are ENGIE Mobisol GmbH quality assured. Interview with representative
Trademarked – ENGIE Mobisol GmbH holds intellectual property related to software platforms, user tracking and power electronics but no patents relating to its Solar Home Systems.
Users can purchase systems from retail storefronts in Tanzania, Rwanda or Kenya. ENGIE Mobisol GmbH has a system of national, regional and market hubs with flagship stores in the capital cities.
Number and type of power outputs
Number and type of light points
Manufacturer-specified lumen-hours per solar day
Peak power rating of the solar panel in standardized sunlight conditions, provided by the manufacturer
Manufacturer-specified battery capacity
Manufacturer-specified battery voltage
Type of battery used
Can the user easily replace the battery if needed?
Can this system be monitored remotely?
Type of user payment structure
Does this system require mobile connectivity (either for payments or to function)?
ENGIE Mobisol GmbH currently offers five solar home system sizes with power ratings of 40, 80, 100, 120 and 200 Watts (availability of specific systems varies with location). The systems include a solar panel, a pay-as-you-go enabled solar battery and controller (54 Ah or 96 Ah), three to twelve LED light points (2 W or 3.5 W bulbs), two 5 volt USB port, three 12 volt ports and two 3-prong Mobisocket jacks. Several systems also include a radio, a television of various sizes, a phone charger and/or a portable lamp supplied by Sun King Eco. More information is available here and here.
ENGIE Mobisol GmbH is working towards prototypes and pilots for systems that are larger than 200 watts, including an 800 W system capable of powering solar welding.
A toll free service hotline is available for customer inquiries that is open from 7 am – 9 pm local time. If their customer service team is not able to resolve the issue over the phone, they arrange for a technician to visit the customer’s home within 72 hours to take care of the repair free of charge (during the 3 year warranty period).
It is also possible to contact ENGIE Mobisol GmbH for technical support issues by email or through a contact form on their website.
ENGIE Mobisol GmbH call customers if they detect a technical fault with their system and communicate payment reminders to customers through SMS and by phone in the case of late payment.
All components can be replaced using only a screwdriver, excepting the battery which is replaceable but requires specialised tools.
The lifetime of Mobisol systems is 4.5 – 5 years. Interview with representative
There is a three or four year warranty on the system controller and battery, a two year warranty on the TV and a one year warranty on all other appliances . The solar panel has a 20 year warranty provided by the manufacturer.
Performance targets vary with different system sizes and combinations. For the 200W premium package (sold in Tanzania), ENGIE Mobisol GmbH state that “It has highest usable battery capacity in that market” and the “Long expected battery life-time for more than 6 years”.
Lighting Global vetted the systems by testing components according to the Quality Test Method in the latest edition of IEC 62257-9-5 and/or their own Lighting Global Quality Assurance Protocols for Solar Home System Kits. They confirm that the systems meet the Lighting Global Quality Standards.
At a component level, they tested the: battery capacity (mAh) of the two Battery/Control Box options, peak power at STC (W) of the different PV Modules, luminous flux (lm) and lamp efficacy (lm/W) of the Light sources, power (W) and battery capacity (mAh) of the TVs, and also listed which component combinations are available.
At a system level, they tested/confirmed the following parameters for the 200W Solar Home System with 32″ TV:
Full battery run time (hrs) per day of solar charging for each appliance alone or in combination; Total light output (lm); Lamp type; Special features (mobile charging and appliances and pay as you go); Overall durability and quality standards tests (drop, soldering and electronics workmanship, mechanical, minimum warranty, performance reporting)
Be sure to follow proper electrical installation and control guidelines.
Mobisol has designed specific business kits and appliances that are compatible with their solar home system. Included in these kits are the necessary appliance as a multiple phone charging unit or a barber’s hair clipper and also educational material to help start the business – such as book-keeping essentials.
Rolffs, P., Byrne, R., Ockwell, D., 2014, Financing sustainable energy for all: pay-as-you-go vs. traditional solar finance approaches in Kenya.
Oruoch, A. N. O., 2015, Financial Aspects of Stand-alone Solar Power Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. M.Sc. Thesis, University of Missouri – Kansas City, Kansas City, MO.
Warnecke, T., Houndonougbo, A. N., 2016, Let There Be Light: Social Enterprise, Solar Power, and Sustainable Development. Journal of Economic Issues, 50(2), 362–372.
Pueyo, A., 2013, Real Time Monitoring Technologies for Pro-Poor Access to Electricity. IDS Evidence Report No. 12,. Institute of Development Studies (IDS).
Adwek, G., Boxiong, S., Ndolo, P.O., et al., 2020, The solar energy access in Kenya: a review focusing on Pay-As-You-Go solar home system. Environ Dev Sustain, 22, pp. 3897–3938.
The Solar Home Systems are certified by Lighting Global and meet relevant ISO and IEC certifications including ISO 9001:2008 (Quality management systems) for its manufacturing process, IEC 60065 for its TVs and IEC 61215 for its solar PV modules.
The Quality Test Method (QTM) is the full test method within IEC Technical Specification 62257-9-5 used by Lighting Global to verify comprehensive product performance. Results from QTM testing determine if a product meets the Lighting Global Minimum Quality Standards.
As part of the QTM, Mobisol Solar Home Systems have passed the following Durability tests: Drop test, Switch and Connector Cycling, Strain Relief Test, Physical Ingress Protection Test, Protection from Frequent Rain
Mobisol provides reliable solar power for a quarter million beneficiaries in Africa
Mobisol trains their employees and technicians through the Mobisol Academy, a short video about this can be found here.
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