Martin Masiya, 21, expands use of solar energy in Malawi’s rural parts

By : Aïsha Moyouzame

Date : mardi, 01 février 2022 15:42

Last updated : lundi, 28 février 2022 04:12

Only 11% of Malawi’s population has access to a reliable electricity grid, and this hampers productivity, especially in rural areas. This is an issue that entrepreneur Martin Masiya tackles with Sollys Energy, his solar power startup.

Operating in the alternative energy sector, Sollys Energy sells lanterns and solar home systems with flexible payment terms. The firm, whose main target is people living in semi-urban and rural areas with no access to reliable and affordable electricity, has a business model that is based on installment payments.

One of Sollys’s products is WOWSolar 60, a lighting system whose main feature is a scalable upgrade capability that allows the same controller and bulbs to be used to power multiple devices. Sollys Energy also sells "Pay-As-You-Go" solar lights. These differ from standard solar lanterns which are typically sold for cash or loan and require sales agents to physically collect payments from customers.

Martin Masiya, 21, is the founder of Sollys Energy. One of Africa's youngest renewable energy entrepreneurs, he has attended several global events, including the first-ever Youth Forum organized by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Abu Dhabi in January 2020. Masiya is very involved in foreign development organizations and recommends energy policies to various platforms like the EU-Africa group, the Youth Sustainable Energy Hub, and the Global Centre for Adaptation.

In rural and semi-urban Malawi, a large majority of households, schools, businesses, and health facilities do not have access to reliable electricity, and most of them have no electricity at all. National statistics show that only 11% of Malawians have access to the local power grid. This means that nearly 15 million people are deprived of economic opportunities that could improve their living standards and get them out of poverty.

Indeed, research shows that lack of access to electricity is a huge barrier to productivity. Therefore, providing low-income households and communities with affordable solar devices would help boost their productivity so they can produce more and generate additional income. Sollys Energy's mission is to end energy poverty in Malawi.

To date, Sollys Energy has a dozen outlets in the country. It has already served about 1,000 people and created 13 jobs. In the future, Martin Masiya's ambition is to make his start-up the largest distributor of pay-as-you-go solar devices in Southern Africa, covering agriculture, health, education, and solar energy for productive use.

Aïsha Moyouzame


Please publish modules in offcanvas position.