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Big Data, Big Opportunity: Is Data Science the Key to Universal Energy Access ?

- Bylined article, -

A not-so silent revolution is happening around the world. If you are a citizen from a digitalised economy, you are now a quantified human, as there are certainly companies – from Facebook to Amazon to Google – that collectively know what you have done all day. But in many developing economies, most people in rural areas live “dataless” lives. The revolution has not yet reached them – but that is quickly changing.

For instance, if you are a member of an off-grid household in Sub-Saharan Africa, there is a significant chance that you do not have access to basic services like electricity or a bank account. In this context, a new breed of companies is offering goods and services based on the emerging pay-as-you-go (or PAYGO) model, an Internet of Things-enabled microcredit mechanism.

This model is creating massive opportunities. When a company sells a PAYGO solar home system to a rural household, for example, something incredible happens: As a credit check is conducted, granular data about the customer’s economic and social situation are recorded for the first time. As weekly or monthly payments are collected, a credit history is built.

This data can now be leveraged to improve access to finance, insurance and other productive and life-enhancing assets.

- Guilhem Dupuy, Investment Manager at GAIA Impact Fund and Thibault Lesueur, Co-founder & CMO at Solaris Offgrid are discussing in this article for the potential of predictive data analytics to increase investors’ attractiveness, unlock the full potential of companies within the Pay-as-you-Go sector and advance financial inclusion.


About Next Billion :

NextBillion is a community of business leaders, social entrepreneurs, NGO managers, policy makers, academics and others exploring the connection between development and enterprise. NextBillion chronicles new trends in market solutions to poverty that benefit the world’s 4 billion low-income producers and consumers – often known as the base of the pyramid. The site features in-depth analysis and opinion from thought leaders and researchers – as well as on-the-ground insights from social entrepreneurs. NextBillion also offers an editor-curated newsfeed, a calendar of important events, and a career center with continuously updated job opportunities across the “development through enterprise” market sector.

About Solaris Offgrid:

Solaris Offgrid supports distributors of essential services to build strong customer traction and greater relations with investors through flexible and inclusive Paygo solutions, designed for last-mile operations. Adopting a bottom up approach in the design of its solutions and creating synergies with a strong network of partners to solve last-mile challenges, the company has already deployed Paygo solutions in more than 30 countries through PaygOps, Solaris Offgrid in-house software solution built “In the Field, for the Field” and its product development services. Leading reference in the off-grid solar market, PaygOps, is engineered to deliver modular and interoperable solutions to address off-grid energy access challenges and distribution complexity. For more information on PaygOps, please contact

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