Econet Solar International (ESI) launched its “Home Power Stations”, which use solar energy to provide lights and charging stations for homes on the continent, at AfricaCom 2013 today.
The home power stations are comprised of a battery pack connected to a solar panel, from which wireless LED light bulbs can be powered, as well as using the station to charge mobile phones and other implements through a number of USB ports on the station.
It is intended that the stations will harness solar energy to bring affordable, clean and safe lighting to off-grid communities, as well as providing a source of power for the charging of small devices such as phones and tablets.
“We are very aware of the absence of a reliable power supply in many of the countries in which we operate,” said Luc Tanoh, chief executive officer (CEO) of ESI.
“Not only do millions of people not have access to clean and safe lighting but, often our customers have to walk long distances to find a place where they can charge their phones. That’s something we want to and are changing.”
Following a trial period across 2,000 homes in Zimbabwe, ESI will now roll out 125,000 units across Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Burundi and Botswana in the first phase of availability; with plans for up to 300,000 units to be deployed in further African markets in 2014.
Bearing in mind the low-income in many rural areas across Africa, customers will be required to pay a small deposit of between US$10 and US$30 to secure a unit and solar panel. Lights, chargers, and other implements must be purchased separately.
Customers are then charged a daily “rental” fee of US$0.25 to use the service.