Kalule Guwatudde

Mendoza College of Business

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Abigail Mechtenberg

Evaluating pay-as-you-go systems in ESDD energy devices

Pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) is a system currently used by solar companies in “so-called” developing economies to sell solar home systems on a rent to own basis. People living off the grid are required to make a down payment in order to take the solar system home and then pay a pre-set amount daily for 24 months after which the system unlocks itself and they can get power without paying. In a report by Dalberg Advisors and GOGLA, 130 million home solar devices had been sold between 2010 and 2018 in “so-called” developing economies. However, the initial excitement that made millions of people to purchase solar devices has waned because the solar systems lose their efficiency over the 2-year repayment period, cannot be repaired since there is no local technical expertise and cannot easily be upgraded to support more energy rated devices as people upgrade their energy needs. The Energy and Sustainable Development with Design lab (ESDD) has developed renewable energy microgrids and human powered systems that solve all these bottlenecks. These devices include a merry go round generator, sewing machine generator, hand cranked generator, bike generator and concentrated solar panels. My research is geared towards incorporating the PAYGO system in the micro-grid systems currently being developed in the ESDD research lab led by Prof. Abigail Mechtenberg. ESDD Micro-grids can support higher rated energy devices at a lower cost than solar systems can and have a local network of support technicians and engineers to carry out maintenance and repairs. My research will also examine how ESDD microgrids and human-powered systems can be used to replace solar home systems in rural off-grid communities whose energy needs are not reliably being met by current solar systems. I will also evaluate STS (Standard Transfer Specification) based PAYGO systems with IC(Integrated Circuit) card recharge based PAYGO systems. STS systems rely on 20-digit tokens for issuing power credits but IC card systems rely on smart cards.