Barefoot Power

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Overview

Innovate products and solutions for base of the pyramid energy poverty

Overview

Headquarters:  New South Wales, Australia
Established:  2005
Impact Areas:  Sub-Saharan Africa, India, over 20 countries worldwide
Type:  For-Profit
Energy Sectors: Power Source: Solar Power
Power Use: Off-Grid Lighting and Electricity
Business Model Types: Product Sourcing: Self-Designed, Foreign Manufacture, Uniform Product
Distribution: Sale Through Partners, Microfranchising, Existing Retail Channels
Affordability: Low-Cost Product, Partner Financing, Subsidization
Organization Financing: Loans and Equity, Carbon Credits
Scaling: New Distributors, New Products, New Branches
Social Impact: Scope/Number Reached
Staff Size:  60
Annual Budget: N/A
Major Funders:  Oikocredit, European Investment Fund, Good Energies, Grassroots Business Fund, Ennovent, Calmeadow, CSR Capital, Grace Foundation, Insitor, DOB Foundation, Angel investors / lenders
Awards: 2008: Australian Cleantech Summit 10 Most Promising Companies
2009: Top Energy Innovation in Anthill’s Smart 100
2010: 4 Awards at Lighting Africa Summit, Top Energy Innovation in Anthill’s Smart 100, CTI PFAN Africa Forum for Clean Energy Financing award for African Lighting Project, G-20 SME Finance Challenge, Anthill Cool Company, Consensus GreenTech
2011: Global Cleantech 100, Forbes 8 Best Sustainability Ideas, TiE Sydney Women Entrepreneur’s Pitch, Barefoot Angels Fund in Anthill’s Smart 100, Katerva Energy and Power, Australian Sustainability Award Sustainable Small Company of the Year

ABOUT

Barefoot Power develops and sells affordable high-quality solar products to off-grid households around the world.

 

Energy Products/Services

  • Solar home systems
  • Solar lanterns and phone chargers
  • All are picosolar products under 15W, include a battery and energy source and provide light. Most also provide phone charging, and some charge radios.
  • 3 products, the PowaPack 5W, Firefly Mobile 12, and PowaPack Junior 2.5W are certified by Lighting Africa.
  • All products meet the CDM requirement, making them eligible for carbon credits.

Target Market

  • Off-grid populations  currently using kerosene lamps and unable to afford more expensive solutions, globally with a current focus on East and West Africa.

 

Barefoot Power

Revenue Streams

  • Sale of energy products, carbon credits

Value Proposition

  • Barefoot Power designs award-winning solar-powered products that innovate to meet customer needs.
  • All products include light, and most also have the capability to charge mobile phones
  • Barefoot Power has also innovated to address the other major challenges in getting their products to customers, developing and implementing creative partner financing schemes and piloting distribution methods that can then be passed on to partners.
  • Barefoot Power trains entrepreneurs through its business in a bag micro entrepreneur training to assist communities to gain access to safe affordable light while building sustainable micro energy franchise distributors.

Problem Addressed

  • Billions of people suffering from energy poverty, forced to resort to unhealthy, over-priced, and polluting kerosene lamps and walk miles to charge their mobile phones.

Where They Are Now

Impact to Date

  • Sold over 1.5m products.
  • In Uganda, saved over $7m worth of kerosene.
  • Designed award-winning products and financing mechanisms
  • Associate member of IFC Lighting Africa

Milestones

  • 2005: Founded
  • 2008: Began operations in Africa
  • 2010: Sales increased 100% since 2008
  • 2011: Named to Global Cleantech 100

Growth Plan

  • 2013: Impact reaching 5m people
  • 2015: Impact reaching 10-15m people

How They Deliver

Product Sourcing & Design

  • Barefoot Power designs all of its own products, after extensive market research.
  • Products are manufactured in China.
  • Barefoot Power recently released a new line of products, Barefoot 2.5,  which greatly increases the life of product batteries.

Distribution

  • Barefoot Power mainly works in markets with low or no electrification.
  • Barefoot Power has various distribution methods, including sale through partner organizations and microfranchising.
  • In 20 countries, Barefoot Power partners with importers, sometimes multiple organizations, who bring in their products and sell locally.
  • Barefoot Power trains all partners in best business practices, solar technology, repair of Barefoot Power products, and how to build franchises and work with Barefoot Power specifically.
  • Barefoot Power also trains all distribution partners to support their 1 year warranty on all products, and all are obligated to honor this warranty.
  • Barefoot Power is also one of the only energy companies to issue customers receipts, which they must bring in to get their warranty serviced.
  • Importers may be NGOs, solar businesses, or other types of traders.  Barefoot Power offers them many types of support, depending on their needs, including helping them import, and helping them set up a distribution channel.
  • In Kenya and Uganda, Barefoot Power has subsidiaries which only import Barefoot Power products, and distribute through several channels- partnering with NGOs, microfranchises, large company CSR programs, and other retailers like mobile telephone companies.
  • Barefoot Power is piloting SMS technology to assist with post sales service and warranty tracking.
  • Barefoot has found that they retain many satisfied customers who will frequently purchase higher-end product offerings and refer other clients to them.

Revenue & Affordability

  • While most of Barefoot’s sales do not require credit, in some markets, especially for larger systems, customers need financing. Over time, customers will save enough to cover the cost of their system, they often do not have funds up-front, therefore Barefoot often forms partnerships with microfinance banks which work to assist with the purchasing power of Barefoot’s customers.
  • In some areas, Barefoot trains microfinance loan officers who act as a distribution channel.
  • In Uganda and Kenya Barefoot Power works with the government Rural Energy Authority, which gives a subsidy to customers and qualifying distributors.

Financing

  • Barefoot Power is primarily financed by debt and equity.
  • Barefoot Power is working on certification to receive carbon credits, which requires careful tracking of every product sold.  Barefoot Power is using an SMS based system, also used to track warranty data, to have dealers  text in the serial number, location, buyer, and date of purchase of every product to the office upon sale.
  • Barefoot Power has also developed a creative financing mechanism for its distributors with partner, Oikocredit.   The Trade Finance Fund is a revolving line of credit available to Barefoot Power importers and subsidiaries to finance initial product orders.  This product financing option, reduces the risk to investors and has enabled Barefoot Powers partners to meet the demand for solar powered lighting and phone charging products.

Scaling

  • Barefoot Power primarily scales by forming new partnerships in new countries and expanding existing partnerships.

Social Impact

  • Barefoot Power measures its impact by the number of people with access to its products and the social and environmental benefits extrapolated from this number.

Firefly 12 Mobile

Description:

  • The Firefly Mobile is a desk lamp with an attachable 1.5W solar panel and mobile phone charging plugs.  The lamp has 3 brightness settings, including a low-light, long term nightlight setting, and 10 SMD LED bulbs.  The lamp also has an internal lithium ion phosphate battery which lasts up to 1000 cycles, three times the life of Barefoot Power’s previous model.  The Firefly Mobile meets the UN Clean Development Mechanism standards for offsetting carbon emissions.

How It’s Used: 

The Firefly Mobile is often used for children studying, lighting outdoor shops, or lighting rooms when placed on a wall hook.  It is also used to recharge mobile phones.

Product Type:

Self-Sufficient Portable

Technical Data

Lumens/Watt:  25
Lamp Power and type:  12 LEDs- 1W
Battery Capacity and type:  680mAh LIPh
Hours Runtime/Charge:  4.4-8.5
Charging Hours from Flat:  5
Lumens:  25
Lumen-hours/year@4hr/day:  36,500
Service Delivered (lm.hr/$):  3,712
Kerosene Service Delivered (lm.hr/$):  872

 

Cost Data

Number of Households Served  1
Upfront Cost
Estimated Retail Price:  $35
Recurring Costs
 Replaceable Products Life(years) Replacement Costs
Lamp  2  $3.00
Battery  1.5 $2.00
5-year Replacement Costs  $14.17
5-year Ownership Cost  $49.17

 

 

 

OtherProducts

  • Firefly Light and Mobile Ultra Torch solar desk lamps
  • PowaPack Junior Matrix, 5W, 5W Bright, 10W Village Kit, and 15W Village Kit solar home systems
  • Fast Phone Charge
  • Product Catalogue

PowaPack Bright 5w

Description:

The PowaPack Bright 5W is a solar home system including a 5W solar panel, a battery, a 12 SMD LED light, and a 3W tube light.  The battery is a 12v 5 Ah AGM sealed lead acid rechargeable with built-in protection from overcharging and overdischarging, and will work for around 400 charging cycles.    The system also includes a number of mobile phone adapters and a port on the battery which can operate a radio.  The PowaPack is certified by the UN Clean Development Mechanism for generating carbon offsets.

How It’s Used: 

The PowaPack is used as a small home or business lighting system, providing off-grid light and power to a single building.

Product Type:

Solar Home System

Technical Data

Lumens/Watt:  50
Average Lamp Power and type:  1 12-SMD LED Lights, 1 3W tube light
Battery Capacity and type:  5000mAh 12V sealed lead-acid
Hours Runtime/Charge:  8-10 hours
Charging Hours from Flat:  10
Lumens:  200 total
Lumen-hours/year@4hr/day:  292,000
Service Delivered (lm.hr/$):  8,000
Kerosene Service Delivered (lm.hr/$):  872

 

Cost Data

Number of Households Served  1
Upfront Cost
Estimated Retail Price:  $170
Recurring Costs
 Replaceable Products Life(years) Replacement Costs
Battery  4  $12
5-year Replacement Costs  $12.50
5-year Ownership Cost  $182.50

 

Other Products

  • Firefly Light, Mobile Lamp, and Mobile Ultra Torch solar desk lamps
  • PowaPack Junior Matrix, 5W, 10W Village Kit, and 15W Village Kit solar home systems
  • Fast Phone Charge
  • Product Catalogue

More Resources

Online Resources

Contact Information

Barefoot Power
79 Morrissett Street
Bathurst, New South Wales
Australia

( Barefoot Power Global
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