Solar home systems (SHSs) are successfully addressing energy access deficits across the globe, particularly when combined with pay-as-you-go (PAYG) payment models, allowing households to pay for energy services in small instalments. To increase energy access, it is vital to understand the PAYG SHS customer journey in depth. To aid this, the paper presents unique data from active customers, consisting of structured interviews (n
= 100) and two focus groups (n
= 24) across two districts in Rwanda. These results are presented under a novel customer journey framework, which describes all the individual stages a customer might experience, including awareness and understanding, purchase, usage, upgrade, recommendation and retaining or switching energy source. The paper reveals that the customer journey is non-linear and cyclical in nature, acknowledging that a household operates in a social network within which they could influence or be influenced by others. It also highlights the growing importance of SHS recommendations in raising awareness of SHSs, pointing to the shifts in the off-grid energy market environment where customer awareness no longer appears to be a main adoption barrier.
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