Client: Solar Now
Sector: Renewable Energy
Requirement: Chief Operating Officer
The Client Solar Now is a for profit social business with Dutch origins and core operations in Uganda and Kenya. It sells high-quality solar solutions to fit the needs of rural households and small entrepreneurs — from 50Wp small solar home systems capable of powering a radio, phone and a number of lights to 10kWp systems that can power productive appliances and offices. Crucially, SolarNow also provides credit that allows clients to spread payment for their products over 24 months.
The Challenge The company already serves 35,000 clients and plans to roll out its operations into other African countries during the coming years. To support this rapid growth, Solar Now needed an experienced, hands-on yet strategic COO to design and implement an effective operating model, focusing on client satisfaction, productivity and efficiency levels across the organization. With a large staff count, hyper-growth expected, and no established “best-practice” operating model available, this role required someone with the right background to leverage on past knowledge and experience but with the ability to apply their critical thinking skills within a new context.
The Results This was a tricky role to fill, given the complexity of the role and the requirement for someone to be able to work in an entrepreneurial setup and be both strategic but ready to roll up their sleeves and get things done. An understanding of and experience within African markets was also necessary, to understand the potential challenges on the ground. Lars was an experienced COO for Ericsson Sub-Saharan Africa and later their Group Wide Transformation and Digitalization Manager. He had excellent experience leading large teams, developing effective systems and processes, managing and implementing complex projects, and working within Africa. Lars was keen to return to East Africa and step back into a more hands-on role with real impact, so this role with Solar Now was a perfect fit.