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Below is our recent interview with Maria Burpee, Lead Marketing Consultant at RVE.SOL:
Q: For those who have never heard of it, how would you describe RVE.SOL?
A: RVE.SOL is a a triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) social entrepreneurship. Specifically we are a minigrid developer and operator founded in 2010. We provide multi-utility (electricity, water, biogas) & value add services hub appropriate to the rural development context. Our innovative KUDURA minigrid is patent-pending and has been running reliable and safely since 2011 in Sidonge, Kenya. KUDURA means “the power to change” in Swahili.
We envision a world where people have affordable access to clean energy and water and they are able to lift themselves out of poverty with this access. KUDURA leverages renewable technology and micro-financing best practices to kick start socio-economic growth for the world’s least privileged in rural off-grid areas.
Q: How did you get the idea for RVE.SOL?
A: Vivian, the founder, was wanting to use his technical, engineering and business skills back in Africa where he was born. He kept seeing small, portable and/or disparate renewable energy and/or water filtration systems trying to individually attack a very large problem from a charitable or transactional angle. He felt by integrating these systems into a minigrid we could serve an entire communities total energy and water needs with a transformational approach, treating rural poor as consumers enabled to change their own future and attack poverty (not just lack of lighting for example) at its core.
Q: Your work is very inspiring, if someone wants to join in, are they able to do so?
A: Please send us an email and/or follow us on social media (FB, TW, LI) to stay on top of opportunities to join the team and help raise awareness. We are always looking to speak with potential future investors, people willing to contribute time, skills or money for specific initiatives (stay tuned for our Sidonge library campaign), people to hire in one of our locations for a variety of roles.
Q: You have recently raised €2,5M, could you tell us more about it?
A: We closed our Series A funding round with Egis out of France and G7 Renewable Energies out of South Africa, together with being a recipient of the GMG minigrid facility award, in order to build and deploy KUDURA in 40 villages serving over 15,000 consumers. We plan to eventually scale this to 50,000 consumers. This investment is a strong signal that the minigrid business model may be the least-cost, most viable solution to electrify the SubSaharan offgrid population (600million). The full press release is here.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: We plan to expand our presence across and outside of East Africa in order to become the defacto leader in minigrids, create jobs and electrify the world’s offgrid populations.