The off-grid solar industry has entered a new stage of development that requires substantial investment to progress to the next level. To access this working capital, firm-level profitability has replaced household connections and number of people reached as the main evaluation criteria.

Since 2010, 130 million off-grid lighting products have been sold, and in the last six years close to USD 950 Million was raised. Despite this, the off-grid solar industry still struggles to see commercial returns for investors.  As business models become more complex and forge deeper to­ reach the last mile, it is important to have a granular understanding of the unit-cost economics that serve as the building blocks for sustained profitability. While profitability through economies-of-scale holds true in some business models, it may not for others, and can very well undermine the performance of the entire organization. Being able to accurately discern whether scale assumptions hold true is critical on the Path to Profitability.

Lighting Global sees the value in presenting a different kind of approach to address the profitability challenge facing industry businesses, for both retail models and Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO).

This new knowledge series provides Lighting Global Associates and industry companies with a unique tool kit and methodology to bottom-up analysis for operational mapping and related financial considerations.

The core of this work centers on carving out the retail / branch level unit as the last link in the value chain (unit level P&L), and performing economic analysis that considers rural distribution limitations, PAYGO considerations, and penetration challenges that are often overlooked in traditional models. The impact of these considerations can make or break the profitability of the business.

This series includes practical tools, one-on-one consultations, and in-country performance assessments that has helped guide many of the world’s most known companies in the off-grid lighting industry. We see this series as an adaptable framework  that evaluates how hidden costs and inefficiencies in sales-channel-management ultimately impact commercial returns. The approaches and tools presented herein were selected based on their relevance to and effectiveness for the off-grid solar industry.


Lighting Global Associates and companies with Quality Verified products are invited to attend a two-part workshop on getting to the Path to Profitability.

LAGOS, NIGERIA: Week of Nov 5th

NAIROBI, KENYA: Week of November 12th


Part I. The Plenary: A half-day workshop with Dr. Erik Simanis, along with other industry organizations to introduce and expand on the concepts found in the Path to Profitability Knowledge Series (coming soon to the LG website).  By the end of the session(s), attendees should have a firm grasp on this unique framework, what the tools are, why they are important, and how they differ from traditional methods.  Attendees will uncover insights into how assumptions, hidden costs, and other variables in their business model can be overlooked. These factors, when re-evaluated, can have substantial impact on unit, country and corporate profitability.

Part II. One on One Consulting Session:  The Plenary session is a prerequisite to work one-on-one with Dr. Simanis.  In this four-hour private session (by appointment ONLY), company leadership and their teams will receive individual attention to learn how to apply these tools to their business model. The session will empower companies to validate and/or improve on unit-economic performance and uncover metrics unique to each company that serve as “guard rails” on the Path to Profitability.   Conditions for One-On-One Session: The session is confidential, and will not venture into proprietary data. The Plenary session is mandatory to access the session. Ability to effectively apply the tools is unlikely unless firms attend the one-on-one session.  Follow up support can be sought to resolve future questions.