[Interview] Irfan Mirza, CEO, Trend Solar, Tanzania
Irfan Mirza is an IT consultant, project manager and strategist who co-founded Trend Solar, a power solution for rural communities in Africa.
Could you introduce your company?
At Trend Solar, we design, manufacture, distribute and finance a range of solar systems, from 70Wh Solar Home Systems (SHS) aimed at low-income households to 32kWh all-in one battery storage and mini-grid systems.
Where is Trend Solar located?
We’re located in Tanzania; we have hubs across the country (Dar Es Salaam, Geita and Bagamoyo) with a team of 30 agents who go out to rural communities to provide education on how our system can support their home life or business.
When was it founded and by who?
The company was founded by myself and Matt Tam in 2016. We both share a vision of using technology to help people empower their own lives.
Who are your clients?
Rural & peri-urban households in Tanzania and developing countries with very low access to electrification.
What are the Unique Selling Points of Trend Solar?
We are disrupting how emerging markets access electricity and internet, by being the first company in the world to assimilate a Smartphone and a Solar Home System [SHS]. We are solving the ‘digital inclusivity trilemma’ by providing affordable access to energy, internet and mobile, all-in-one solution.
How has the market responded to your services?
Customer response has been very positive. Since our launch at the end of July 2018, we have signed up over 200 customers with very little BTL marketing efforts; we’re currently growing at 60% month on month.
What are the ambitions of Trend Solar?
Trend Solar aims to become one of the leading next generation energy companies across Sub-Saharan Africa. We know that access to energy is just the beginning of the journey for our customers, which is why our product team develop innovations in technology that unlock more than just energy – we connect our customers to the wider world.
What does Trend Solar need to grow and prosper?
Growth and Human Capital as well as developing partnerships with distributors, MFI’s and lending institutions.
What is the latest news from the company?
We recently concluded our beta period and announced our official launch. We will now deploy thousands more systems throughout rural East Africa, providing them with the opportunity to be digitally inclusive.
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