Investor information - Innovative Solar Technology

Remotely Controlled SHS Technology

 

Ever since its inception in 2006 as a social enterprise, Kamworks has been the leading innovator in solar energy in Cambodia with award-winning projects and technological innovations, impacting over 150,000 rural lives. Kamworks provides a wide range of solar energy solutions and products such as solar pumping solutions, custom-designed solar home systems, the award-winning MoonLight® lantern, and Pay-As-You-Go solar home systems. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kamworks Solar Home Systems (SHS)

Kamworks' Solar Home Systems (SHS) are designed to provide a grid-like electricity experience for off-grid rural customers. The systems are comprised of a rooftop solar panel and a battery box housing electronics and a battery. Using our SHS, customers are able to power TVs, fans, and lights for multiple hours every day. Kamworks' SHS range in capacity from 60 Watts to 100 Watts and are designed in-house by our experienced engineers. The components are assembled at the Kamworks assembly facility in Cambodia, and are sold through our own sales network in rural provinces. 

To date, Kamworks has sold over 12,500 SHS in Cambodia. These SHS will save at least 3,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions equivalent over their lifetime, compared to the equivalent amount of energy coming from diesel generators. 

 

 

 

 

Cambodia context

 

Around 70% of Cambodians still don't have access to grid electricity. The government of Cambodia has set an explicit goal to connect 70% of rural households to the electricity grid by 2030. The primary focus on fossil fuels (and in some cases hydropower) to meet this demand has and will continue to contribute to significant environmental impacts, including climate change, and a rising dependency on fossil fuel imports. 

While Cambodia is a low-income country, the cost of electricity is one of the highest in the world. When grid connection is not available, more than half of households make use of car batteries, while others use dry cell batteries or kerosene lamps. This energy use is inefficient, inconvenient, unsustainable and costly. The recharging of batteries also requires households to carry heavy batteries to recharging stations between 5 and 8 times a month, with bicycles the most common mode of transport for poorer families, and women and children often responsible for this task.

 

Despite abundant sunlight and a rural population eager to access reliable sources of electricity, solar energy still faces challenging barriers in Cambodia:

  • High upfront investment cost
  • Financial exclusion of rural households 
  • Bad reputation of solar products associated with poor quality products and services
  • Difficult access to remote areas hampering distribution and after sales service

Kamworks Innovations

Kamworks has implemented industry-leading innovations for its SHS business, both in financing and technology. We give our customers 3 options to pay for their SHS:

  • Upfront cash payment
  • Microfinance loans: we partner with leading companies in Cambodia's well-developed MFI industry to provide 2-year loans to our SHS customers.
  • Crowdfunding: Through the KIVA crowdfunding website, we provide 2-year loans to our SHS customers. Kamworks is responsible for loan assessment and repayment collection. Customers perceive this option as credit through Kamworks. Our Pay-As-You-Go capabilities minimize loan repayment collection costs.

Kamworks is at the forefront of technological innovation in off-grid solar systems:

  • Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) Solar:

At the core of Kamworks' pay-as-you-go service is machine-to-machine connectivity and mobile money: a SIM card embedded in the solar home system enables two-way communication via the GSM network between the system and Kamworks' central server, which maintains customer account and payment information. We partner with Cambodia's leading mobile money platform, WING, to enable mobile payments for the SHS. If a customer is late in repaying after multiple warnings, Kamworks has the ability to remotely shut off their system, encouraging timely repayments. The PAYGO capabilities minimize repayment collection costs and improve customer relationships, since customers interact with the same company for the product and for their loan.

 

 

Administrative system to monitor payment and energy use on remote basis

  • Data monitoring cloud platform

Kamworks' SHS connectivity technology brings much more capability than just the ability to turn systems on and off. Information on every PAYGO SHS is collected every 20 minutes in order to understand usage patterns, analyze system functionality and performance, and inform future design. This data can be monitored in real time through our online cloud platform, enabling faster and more effective customer service and troubleshooting. Additionally, our machine-to-machine connectivity allows Kamworks to remotely send control commands and software updates to our systems in the field.

  • Machine Learning/Predictive maintenance

Kamworks is currently in the process of further developing its cloud platform and machine-to-machine connectivity to enable more advanced capabilities for our SHS, including performance optimization and predictive maintenance. This new development effort consists of analyzing our extensive data on customer energy usage to develop energy profiles. Based on these profiles, we will remotely communicate with our SHS to optimize battery charging and discharging in real time. We can also automatically monitor maintenance requirements, such as underperforming solar panels due to accumulated dust. Such capabilities will allow performance optimization, improved battery life, and ability to predict maintenance requirements. Kamworks' customer data can further be used to inform and optimize subsequent designs for SHS. 

  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software

Kamworks has developed a proprietary, comprehensive ERP system for its business. The ERP system helps automate sales and operations activity and creates a common database for customers, services, production, and inventory. Today, the first module of the ERP - Sales Management - has been rolled out. The Sales Management module allows all of our SHS sales staff to manage their To Do list through a smartphone app, and allows the Kamworks office to monitor field activity and accurately track sales. Subsequent versions of the ERP will streamline our internal reference for stock, production, and service operations. Kamworks' driving goal throughout the ERP design and implementation process is to provide better, faster, and more accurate service to all our customers.

 

Partners

Cellcard, Wing, MFI (Vision Fund, Kredit, Colc, HKL, etc.), GSMA, Kiva.org  

The partnership with Cellcard helps us move the project's reach further, allow remote monitoring, management and servicing of the solar systems, as well as provide data access through Cellcard's extensive and reliable mobile network. 

 

Contact for investors :  Jeroen Verschelling (jeroen [at] kamworks.com)

For investments in grid connected solar projects, please contact Kamworks directly.