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BBOXX ePay: online platform facilitating Rwandan diaspora to pay for solar home systems free of charge

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Having existed on Rwanda’s market for five years with an assortment of solar home systems and energy appliances, BBOXX, one of the leading solar energy providers has maintained consistency in leveraging suitable and consumer-friendly products to boost access to solar energy in the country.

BBOXX started operations in Africa in 2014 with Rwanda being one of the first and now the most important in the group where it has established 25 shops, providing clean energy solutions.

The company provides solar panels and LED lights among other accessories including power saving televisions and radios. It targets remote areas with no access to the national electricity grid.

As Rwanda hosts the Renewable Energy for Sustainable Growth-RE4SG conference 3rd edition due on 5th-6th November 2019, BBOXX takes pride to have positively impacted Rwandans lives.

As 95% of the BBOXX customers testify, access to electricity completely transforms their lives.

Rwanda is committed to universal access to electricity by 2024 with off-grid solutions contributing up to 48 per cent as on-grid solutions contribute 52 per cent of national electrification.

Currently, about 51% of Rwandan households have access to electricity, including 37% connected to the grid while 14% are using off-grid solutions. (REG, Oct 2019)

Solar energy companies such as BBOXX contribute largely to the cause.

BBOXX has electrified over 80,000 Rwandan households serviced through 25 shops from across the country.

As a fully-fledged service company, BBOXX is committed to maintaining the lead with constant innovations to find solutions to the common problems faced by rural populations, with a belief that these solutions will also provide alternative sources of income thereby increasing their disposable income.

To maintain efficiency, the technology embedded in its products enables them to be remotely monitored and controlled.

Wherever its equipment is installed, BBOXX is able to detect and solve issues such as battery depletion and collect data which influences the decision about other products and services to bring to the market.

BBOXX is currently transitioning from a ‘solar company’ to a ‘next-generation utility’ company to provide refrigerators, internet services, home biogas and LPG for cooking, solar irrigation systems and a virtual reality smartphone app to access agricultural advice among other things – all running on clean energy.

BBOXX ePay

As part of ongoing innovative friendly solutions, BBOXX has introduced an online payment platform dubbed ‘BBOXX ePay’ through which an interested customer from the diaspora or inside the country orders from a variety of packages and makes payments online.

It is used in Rwanda for the pilot phase to be rolled out to other countries where the group has footprint.

How BBOXX ePay works

Family members and friends using BBOXX ePay can select from a variety of packages including different appliances to be sent to their families back home. These include 24” LED TVs, portable radios, shavers, portable torches, LED lights and phone chargers.

BBOXX takes full care of the installation and training around how appliances can be used. The duration of the pre-paid services is between one to 10 years.

The payments are made securely online with a debit or a credit card. It is as easy as using any other e-commerce website. There are zero transfer fees from anywhere in the world.

Prices start at US$65 (or Rwf 59,200) for a one-year electricity trial. BBOXX is offering discounts of up to 33%.

Getting involved

Client interested to send energy to someone in Rwanda, finalizes all transactions through the e-portal epay.bboxx.co.uk.

The first 100 customers get an additional discount of $10 (or Rwf 9,100) on their purchase, using the promo code: transform.

BBOXX ePay genesis

According to the Managing Director Justus Mucyo, the solution was designed to support the country’s universal energy access target as one of the biggest companies providing solar energy on the Rwandan market.

“As we thought what else can be done, apart from our day to day work to accelerate the electrification of Rwanda, the Rwandan diaspora came to mind, as they are important contributors to the national economy through the remittances they send back home,” he said.

The National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) recently revealed that funds from diaspora rose from US$ 98.2 million in 2010 to US$ 250 million in 2018 since Rwanda Day was introduced.

Recently, BBOXX was among local enterprises that participated in the latest edition of Rwanda Day that took place in Bonn, Germany early October 2019 to showcase the newly launched BBOXX ePay service.  

“We realized that one of the big issues they face when sending money home are the high transfer fees, which are on average 9% of the value of the transaction,” said Mucyo.

“This is how BBOXX ePay, an online platform where you can pay for a BBOXX solar home system in Rwanda, was born. With this, we get money upfront vs the regular pay- as-you-go model. We can use this money to re-invest, thus being able to offer significant discounts to users of BBOXX ePay from Rwanda or abroad,” he explained.

The BBOXX ePay project has been developed with the support of Shell Foundation, a UK Charity, and the UK Department for International Development.

As BBOXX recently presented the project to Rwandan diaspora at Rwanda Day in Bonn, it was welcomed with a lot of enthusiasm.

“This is a fantastic idea. Instead of paying high remittance fees, people in the diaspora can directly pay for solar energy in their home village and get their families connected. It is extraordinary and practical,” said one of Rwanda Day participants.  Others thanked BBOXX for the interesting project coming in handy to help their families.

Customers started getting Solar Home Systems through BBOXX ePay

As Mucyo confirmed, the company has started receiving orders from first customers through BBOXX ePay.

After placing the order, BBOXX call center operators inform the beneficiaries on payments of the solar home system to be installed at their homes.

The solar home system is delivered and installed shortly after informing the beneficiary.

“I received a call that someone paid a solar system to light my home. I told the person that he dialed a wrong number because I was not expecting such good news. I was taken through details and finally welcomed the great surprise,” said a recipient.

BBOXX wants to remain a reliable partner and keep growing to connect more families.

Since 2010, BBOXX has provided off-grid electricity to nearly 1 million people in 35 countries around the world.

It has presence in other African countries including Kenya, DRC, Togo, Ivory Coast and Senegal among others.

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