Green Scene Ethiopia

Our work and our impact

Green Scene Ethiopia's plans will have economic, social and environmental benefits

How we work

Green Scene Energy PLC was established in 2016, with the aim of removing the barriers to affordable, clean energy for off-grid Ethiopian communities.

We began operations in 2017, initially importing and distributing SunKing solar lanterns and BioLite solar home systems for distributions in the country’s three largest regions. Since then, our sales portfolio has grown steadily. It has also diversified from small-scale home system sales to larger, collaborative institutional projects. As of February 2020, Green Scene has sold over 3,000 units and has generated a turnover of $229,000. The company is also an Ethiopian Solar Energy Development Association (ESEDA) member, an Acumen East Africa Fellow, a Power Africa grantee and an investee of Acumen Angels.

East African markets are saturated with low-cost, low-quality, sub-standard and / or imitation products which break quickly, create increased waste and undermine confidence in the sector. Most of the 1 million solar products imported to Ethiopia each year are sold by large distributors seeking to maximise volume and margins. Green Scene Energy’s commitment to the highest technological standards and attention to customer needs set us apart from our competitors. For example: our institutional expertise allows us customise our services to a diverse variety of institutional and social contexts. After-sales servicing, which is part of the minimum two-year warranty that comes with all our products, is an essential part of building trust in products and in the sector as a whole. Also, all of our retail products are Lighting Global-certified.

On top of this, Green Scene Energy PLC  works for the long term! We believe wholeheartedly that long-term relationships, long-term trust and long-term value are the only way to build a strong, self-sustaining solar energy sector. In pursuit of this, we uphold a steadfast commitment to:

Supply products of the highest technological standard which are affordable, durable, maintainable and which represent a beneficial investment for our clients;

Provide a reliable, professional service and high quality products, thereby building strong customer relations and trusted networks of clients and partners;

Offer a flexible approach of personalized customer care and support;

Build strong partnerships and local networks which ensure that clients’ needs are optimally met.

Establish long-term collaborations with leading global players in the photovoltaic and renewable-energy industries;

Become a leading assembler, vendor and distributor of renewable energy technologies in Ethiopia.

Are you interested in purchasing a product for your home or your community or workplace? Are you keen to partner with us? Do you want to earn money as a local retailer of our products? Contact us.

Flexible payment options:

We understand that financial feasibility is the way to earn the clients who need our services most. Our innovative and flexible payment options, therefore, allow:
• pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) via mobile telephone payment;
• loans from partnering microfinance institutions, paid back in manageable, periodic instalments;
• full, upfront cash payment to our local retailers and at our Addis Ababa head office.

Piloting our innovative PAYGO model sees us partnering with Angaza, YenePay and M-Birr, allowing individuals and households to pay in routine instalments using a mobile device. Customers receive mobile alerts before each instalment is due and pay directly from their mobile device using MBIRR. Angaza’s microchip sensors enable the product when payments are made and disable it when payments are missed. This simple process provides flexibility and removes the burden of in-person deposits while also incentivizing on-time payments.

Since mid 2018, meanwhile, we have been piloting our pay-as-you-go platform, Own Grid. Uniquely customized to the context of rural Ethiopian life and currently on trial in Oromia Region, Own Grid allows households to acquire and pay for a personal solar system by making mobile phone-based payment instalments. See our one-minute video clip about Own Grid.

Our impact to date

Our distribution of 3,000+ units sold (as of February 2020) has directly impacted approximately 15,000 people and caused a reduction of 750,000 CO2e tons of annual emissions between 2017 and 2019.

Our work creates healthier homes, better working environments, reduced workload – especially for women and children – and greater income-generating opportunities.

Health: Kerosene lamps contribute to indoor air pollution, one of the leading causes of death in developing countries.3 Lamps and candles also pose significant fire risk. Green Scene’s provision of quality products to first-time off-grid users drastically lowers (i) indoor smoke-pollution levels, (ii) fire risk and (iii) eyesight strain, the latter thanks to lighting that is stronger and more directional than kerosene lamps and candlelight.

Time saving: Household members, particularly women, invest significant time and effort:
Traveling to purchase kerosene
Traveling and waiting to charge mobile devices at local kiosks
Using and maintaining kerosene lamps and other unreliable lighting sources

All of our products are simple to use and maintain remove these burdensome time constraints. 

Education: The stronger, cleaner, more reliable and directional lighting facilitates studying, reading, and other educational activities at night. It also enables adults to perform additional tasks before dawn and after dusk.

Information and entertainment: Solar-powered radio and mobile charging provide a source of entertainment currently unavailable to off-grid households.

Environment: Widespread use of kerosene lamps means that the average Ethiopian household currently spends $24 per year on the expensive, polluting fuel. Substituting kerosene with cheaper, cleaner and brighter lighting can save the government approximately $14.5m on annual kerosene import. We have no figures about average spending on battery-powered torches, but our direct experience confirms that their use is widespread and build quality and durability are pitifully low: our products also reduce to zero or near-zero the expense, material wastage and quick-fail disappointment caused by battery-powered torches.

It is four years since Green Scene begun its work, but we feel like we are just getting started!
Are you interested in joining our team? See our careers page and / or contact us.

Our impact [future]

Although 100% national grid access by 2030 is aspired to by the Government of Ethiopia, 60% of Ethiopians – an estimated 65 million people – currently have no access to electricity. By 2025, Green Scene Energy PLC aims to have supplied affordable, reliable clean energy to 600,000 off-grid households (~3 million people). This equates to 10% of the second phase of the National Electrification Program (NEP-2), which aims to avail small- and mid-sized solar energy solutions to 6 million households by 2025.

How is this target of reaching 3 million people achievable for such a ‘small company’?! We know the answer: while solar-powered lights and home systems can transform lives, current products have not been fit for purpose. Our approach creates clients from the people most in need, supplies them optimally, affordably and with quality, and thus unlocks huge additional demand.

In addition to empowering three million Ethiopians to live healthier, more productive lives, achieving our 2025 target will avert the release of nearly a quarter of a million tons of carbon dioxide.

Green Scene Energy PLC is contributing to NEP-2 by steadily and systematically meeting the rapidly growing demand for small- and mid-sized solar energy solutions in off-grid areas.

(i) We are expanding distribution reach and networks into new off-grid areas of the country;

(ii) We are piloting various pay-as-you-go integration and mobile-payment platforms, documenting findings and honing strategy in order to optimize service provision to target customer groups;

(iii) We are beginning to install solar water pumping systems and mid-sized (community institution-level) mini-grid systems – five installed to date, the most significant being a 40kWP backup system for the airport control tower of Gode town in Somali Regional State. Upcoming plans are installations at schools, health centers, clinics, and small businesses;

(iv) We use the revenue that we generate to recruit additional staff members – six new staff hired during May – December 2019, for example.

MONEY: The typical off-grid Ethiopian household spends $84 each year on kerosene and mobile device charging.1 Solar home systems and mini-grids remove this ongoing cost by supplying renewable energy. We want to save Ethiopians a total of $50,400,000 on household spending by 2025! We are already on the path to achieving this

JOBS: Through our localized, personalized business model, Green Scene intends to create at least 900 full-time and 2,400 part-time job opportunities by 2025 – at least half of them women – predominantly for people working as trained agents and retailers.

ENVIRONMENT: For each kerosene lamp replaced, solar solutions save an estimated 0.37 metric tons of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas emissions each year.2  This equates to 222,000-ton reduction in annual greenhouse gas emissions **by 2025 or to date? **

With several years of direct experience behind us, Green Scene is fully aware of the infrastructural and economic challenges to private-sector growth in Ethiopia. For example, (i) the huge geographical areas to be covered across Ethiopia, (ii) the extreme rurality of most project sites and target communities and (iii) the poor road network and rough driving terrain all present ongoing challenges to success.

However, our business model, sectorial interest and institutional backing, customer demand and recognition of potential are all in place to achieve our 2025 plan and our 2030 vision, and so the Green Scene company slogan applies: ‘Mebrat alle! The power is there!’

1Lighting Africa Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report 2018

2Global Off-Grid Lighting Association: Standardized Impact Metrics for the Off-Grid Solar Energy Sector – 2018 Report

3World Health Organization: 2018 Household and Air Pollution Fact Sheet