Solar Product Research Fellow
Location: Accra, Ghana, with potential for significant travel to other cities in Ghana (e.g. Kumasi, Takoradi).
SunFarmer is a US nonprofit that incubates and launches locally-run solar businesses in developing countries. Our first business is SunFarmer Nepal, a solar energy business that designs and installs world class solar energy systems for hospitals, businesses, and farms. Since January 2014, SunFarmer Nepal has installed more than 150 solar energy systems across Nepal.
SunFarmer is replicating this model by identifying top entrepreneurs in other developing countries, and spending 12-18 months co-creating a solar business with each entrepreneur. Once the business launches, we’ll provide entrepreneurs with the financial, technical, and startup resources they need to be successful. Our goal is to launch 4 businesses by 2019.
We currently re-invest any profits in-country; eventually, we will use a portion of profits to offset costs of the US nonprofit.
Duties and Responsibilities
We are looking for a fellow to conduct in-depth customer research on potential customer segments in Ghana, primarily in urban and suburban settings. The insights collected by the Solar Product Research Fellow will be critical to shaping the product development and direction of SunFarmer Ghana. The position is dynamic and may evolve quickly depending on the research findings, so flexibility on the Fellow’s part, as well as additional skills beyond customer research (e.g. design & engineering), are a plus. The Fellow will report to and work closely with SunFarmer US’s Director of Operations. Responsibilities include:
- Prepare interview questionnaires, hypothesized customer personas, and a detailed workplan for conducting interviews
- Conduct rigorous, in-depth interviews with potential customers to collect insights on actual customer needs in terms of energy solutions
- Transcribe and synthesize the primary data collected from interviews; form preliminary conclusions as to what customer needs suggest about likely solar products; communicate insights to SunFarmer-US
- Following collection of customer insights, work with SF-US team to create a preliminary prototype product; estimate pricing for prototype product; complete economic analysis of solar vs. grid / fuel-powered generators
- Deliverables: database of all customer interviews, final report on findings
- Intellect: We have a high performing team, and we only hire the smartest, brightest people we can find. We especially value creative thinkers
- Entrepreneurial spirit: We don’t tell you exactly what you should do – we expect all team members to lead projects from start to finish with minimal supervision
- Willingness to dive in and learn: You love getting things done, and you are always interested in learning how you can improve your knowledge and skills
- Hustle: This role will require a combination of creative thinking and dogged persistence to obtain the necessary information from potential customers
- Efficient and hard worker: We expect you to get an extraordinary amount of work done in a short amount of time – that means you have to work efficiently. However, we also work hard – when deadlines are tight, we do what it takes to get the job done
The successful candidate shall hold a Bachelor’s degree from a top-tier Ghanaian or internatonal university. Advanced degrees are a plus but not required.
- At least 2 years of professional experience strongly preferred
- Professional or academic experience conducting interviews (e.g. product development, ethnographic research, customer satisfaction etc.) strongly preferred
- Professional experience in the solar or renewable energy field a plus
- Based in Accra, willing to travel within Ghana if required
- Working familiarity and comfort with local language(s) and cultural subtleties; comfort conducting interviews and talking to people from many segments of society