The Strauss Energy Business Model: Affordable Technology Innovation to Empower Kenya and Light Up the World

The Strauss Energy Business Model: Affordable Technology Innovation to Empower Kenya and Light Up the World

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  • Teaching Notes
Abstract

Strauss Energy is a social enterprise manufacturing solar energy tiles in Kenya. Tony Nyagah founded the company in 2008, when after coming back from a tiring workday, he experienced a blackout in his house. After the product and business model had been developed, he successfully started operations in 2014, selling his main product: Built Integrate Photovoltaic (BIPV) tiles, which are solar panels integrated into building materials. This product can power households with three times the consumption required because its tiles are supported with a compressed air storage system to provide power even at night. Customers who do not need all the power generated by the tiles can sell the extra energy to the national grid and in this way recover the investment cost of the roofing tiles. The cost of Tony’s BIPV tiles is paid in monthly installments over five to seven years, allowing customers who cannot pay the full price at once to afford the product. With this innovative idea, Tony Nyagah showed how technologies with a profitable business model and affordable product can play an important role in addressing societal needs. This integrated solution has the potential to generate great impact on the development of the country and the continent, since 70% of the African population lack electricity and are forced to use unhealthy and polluting fuels to light their homes.

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