The burgeoning off-grid solar market is expected to be worth more than $3 billion in the coming years, with activity centered in sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia.
But the need for access to electricity is also acute in Latin America, where an estimated 22 million people live without modern energy services. Haiti has the largest population living in energy poverty, more than 7 million people. Second to Haiti is Peru, where 3 million people don’t have access to power, largely because of the remoteness of the villages where they live.
“From the Andes to the Amazon, folks are really spread out,” said Michael Callahan, CEO of PowerMundo, a social impact startup that distributes off-grid clean energy products from lanterns to micro home solar systems.
The startup has been serving the nascent off-grid market for eight years. For most of that time, it has distributed solar LED lanterns. With a recent $300,000 USAID grant through that agency’s Development Innovation Ventures program, PowerMundo will scale up its pay-as-you-go offering.