Let’s compare the features and prices of the new Startimes Solar and the famous M-Kopa Solar.
Gone are the days when people in the rural areas depended on kerosene lamps for lighting.
Solar energy is indeed changing lives and giving people with no access to electricity above-average connectivity.
To make it easier for more people to access solar power for home use, several companies have adopted the LIPA POLE POLE model, commonly known as the pay-go model.
This model allows customers to obtain solar home systems and pay for them in installments.
They completely own the systems once they pay the agreed amount in full.
This model has revolutionized the solar energy industry in Kenya, with more companies adopting it to tap into the growing market.
Startimes S100 vs. M-Kopa 600
Choosing the best solar home system is as important as obtaining the system to take care of your power needs.
M-Kopa is one of the pioneers in the sector, having begun full operations in the year 2012.
The company prides itself on having brought solar power to over 150,000 households in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
Startimes is just a few months old in the solar power business and takes advantage of its reputation as an established TV content provider in Kenya.
As a consumer, the availability of several options to choose from is a big advantage.
And so, let’s have a look at what the two companies offer, just in case you need to make a decision.
We will compare the new Startimes Solar Home Kit with the popular MKopa 600 since their prices and features are within the same range.
Startimes Vs. M-Kopa Solar Cash Prices
One of the key benefits that come with choosing a product from these two companies is the availability of a discounted cash price option.
This is not available with several other pay-go solar companies in Kenya.
Paying in cash is good for people who would like to pay less for the system, and therefore own the product immediately.
The cash price for the MKopa 600 with a 24″ TV is Ksh. 54,999. If you would like to get the MKopa 600, still with a 24″ TV but with a Zuku Dish, then you will pay Ksh. 69,999.
That’s an extra Ksh. 15,000 for the Zuku Satellite TV option, which gives you the benefit of access to more TV channels.
We will be comparing the available TV channels later, first let’s see the cash prices for the Startimes solar and TV.
To get the Startimes S100 with a 24″ TV, you are required to pay Ksh. 54,999 in cash. This is exactly the same amount as the MKopa 600.
Startimes also comes with an option to get the Solar System with a TV and a dish instead of the antenna.
Just like the Zuku Satellite dish, Startimes’ dish has the benefit of better signals and more TV channels.
The cash price for the Startimes S100 with a 24″ TV and a dish is Ksh. 59,999. This is Ksh. 10,000 less than MKopa’s Solar with a similar TV and the Zuku dish.
One would, therefore, be right to say that the Startimes Solar home system is cheaper than Mkopa, and by quite a big margin.
The beauty of these solar home systems lies in the ability to enjoy their systems as you pay for them in easy installments.
One would be right to say that both Startimes and M-Kopa have manageable installments for their solar products.
If you choose the M-Kopa 600 with the 24″ TV and aerial, you are expected to pay a deposit of Ksh. 5,999 and thereafter daily payments of Ksh. 100 for 590 days.
This means that at the end of the payment term, you will have paid a total of Ksh. 64,999.
If you would like to get the same system but with the Zuku satellite dish instead of the aerial, you will have to pay a little more.
After paying a deposit of Ksh. 6,999, you are expected to make daily deposits of Ksh. 135 for a duration of 590 days.
This means that at the end of the payment term, you will have paid a total of Ksh. 86,649.
To get the Startimes S100 with a 24″ digital TV and aerial, you will pay a deposit of Ksh. 5,999 and thereafter weekly installments of Ksh. 700 for a duration of 82 weeks.
This means that at the end of the term, you are required to pay a total of Ksh. 62,899 with the installment plan. And that’s Ksh. 2,000 less than its M-Kopa Solar equivalent.
If you would like to get the same Startimes S100 system but with a dish instead of aerial, you will pay a total of Ksh. 79,919 in 88 weeks.
This is after making a down payment of Ksh. 5,999 and weekly installments of Ksh. 840.
Again, this is Ksh. 7,000 cheaper than the MKopa equivalent. It’s therefore true that Startimes delivers almost similar solar products as MKopa at a cheaper price.
Battery and Accessories
M-Kopa is so much secretive about the battery ratings of its solar products.
This is probably due to the low battery capacity for all M-Kopa products, as compared with products from other PAYGO solar companies.
Any M-Kopa user will tell you that the maximum run time you can get at night with a fully charged battery is 2 hours when watching TV.
The Startimes S100 comes with a lithium phosphate battery rated at 89.6Wh. Taking them for their word, this is good enough to run both the 24″ TV and the lights for 6 hours.
An advantage that comes with MKopa 600 is the additional rechargeable torch and mini Radio. These are not available with the Startimes Solar home system.
Compatibility with other Products
The compatibility of the system with ‘foreign’ appliances is something you must consider before making your final decision.
Startimes Solar scores well on this important aspect. The StarTimes battery unit has three 12V ports that can run ANY appliance with the same rating, provided they do not exceed the maximum 5A output current rating.
The implication is that you do not need to buy a Startimes TV when you already have another solar TV.
The system will also generously run other 12V DC appliances such as music systems, blenders, fans, etc. Running such appliances will however reduce the battery runtime.
On the other hand, M-Kopa scores poorly on this aspect since it is impossible to use a non-M-Kopa Solar TV or Radio on the M-Kopa battery unit.
M-Kopa vs. Startimes Solar Panels
Both the Startimes S100 and Mkopa 600 solar panels have a maximum power output of 30watts.
This is good enough to recharge the respective batteries in a matter of 4 to 5 hours.
The new Startimes Solar Home System scores better than M-Kopa solar on several key aspects.