Exploring a leasing model within the off-grid tourism market for solar home systems
Context Since its inception in 2008, Voltzon has built a track record in designing, installing and maintaining solar home systems in the off-grid market in Tanzania. Despite the obvious benefits of solar energy compared to diesel generators; clean, silent, eco-friendly and financially sustainable, the up-front investment cost and lack of technical expertise limits the penetration of solar energy in the hospitality market.
The big question Is a leasing model that provides the opportunity to pay in monthly installments and outsourcing the burden of maintenance and repair the solution to overcome this barrier and sales?
Approach Marketing for Impact conducted a quick scan of the market potential of different target groups via a number of qualitative interviews per target segment. Based on this initial quick scan, Marketing for Impact and Voltzon selected three target groups for concept testing and phone surveys. As part of the concept testing stage, Marketing for Impact conducted energy audits to get an improved understanding of the electrical appliances used and the daily routines.
Result The research clearly showed that the proposed leasing model was most interesting to the hospitality -sector, and in particular to permanent camps. This is because permanent camps often rely on diesel generators, resulting in high energy expenditures, challenges with the purchase, transportation and storage of fuel and negative externalities (e.g. noise). Following the study findings, Voltzon (Now Greenlink) successfully introduced the leasing concept for hospitality clients and invested in another research to adapt the concept to the public sector, mostly schools. The outcomes of the market study served as input for a business plan to attract outside investment.