At the end of March 2022, the EURICA team visited the rural district of Ambanja in Northern Madagascar. The visit aimed to inquire how the solution set up by Nanoé, one of the EURICA’s (WP15) partner, affects people’s lives. The testimonies collected show high user satisfaction and a great trust in the system built. Nanoé’s “nano-grids” interconnect houses, and they benefit from a mutualisation of the installation and maintenance costs of solar panels and batteries. The innovation relies not only on the hardware but also on commercial processes: rather than offering kilowatt-hours for a specific price, Nanoé sells various packages of electricity services for a fixed fee chosen by the users according to their needs. This model is known as “electricity-as-a-service”. This business model has proven effective in other sectors, such as telephony or video streaming.
If the initial investment seems high, families are reassured of the stability of their purchase over time. Nanoé offers a better quality of service than solar kits and diesel generators and appears to be a valid alternative to the main grid (which is unlikely to reach rural areas anyways). Families appreciate knowing exactly what they will pay, thanks to a flat rate system adapted to their needs. These services allow them to “brighten up their daily lives” and open new horizons. For example, respondents know they can keep the lights on, listen to the radio, charge their phone, or watch TV for a few hours. Others might also invest in a fridge, which will allow them to store food for personal use or sale. Furthermore, the fact that Nanoé’s agents are young local “entrepreneurs” reassures the families – they know where to find them and how to communicate possible problems or delays in payment, for example.