Five alternative energy initiatives in Africa

26 October 2016

The renewable energy industry is a two-fold opportunity: it offers cost- effective, environmentally friendly energy to consumers in Africa and it provides a new avenue of business for entrepreneurs. Five companies are at the forefront of making alternative energy viable on the continent.

Solynta Energy

Founded by Lagos entrepreneur Uvie Ugono in Nigeria in 2013, Solynta provides solar panel installations to Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. Operating with little corporate support, the company focuses on installing systems onto schools, healthcare facilities and small businesses. The company also operates a number of solar “filling stations” around Nigeria that offers consumer education, repairs and pre-loaded solar panels.

Off Grid Electric

This Tanzanian small-scale power supplier uses the M-Pesa mobile money service to provide solar power systems, including LED lighting systems, to rural areas. The self-sustaining solar system complete with panels and lithium battery can be installed for as little as US$6 (about R82). It has installed over 10 000 systems in rural Tanzania and Rwanda. The company raised over $25-million (about R344-million) in 2015 that goes towards providing systems, maintenance support and technical training.

Ugesi Gold

A South African energy start-up, Ugesi Gold provides solar battery charging stations, called SolarTurtles, in rural areas where users can charge solar battery packs which are then carried home. In February 2014 the project was proclaimed as a Climate Solver by the World Wildlife Fund that highlights the best technologies in reducing carbon emissions and support energy access while creating awareness of the value of innovation as a tool to tackle climate change.

Juabar

Juabars, Swahili for ‘sun bar’, are becoming a common sight in Tanzania in small towns and urban areas alike. Started in 2013, Juabar travelling solar-powered phone charging kiosks use 50W solar-PV systems to charge up to 20 mobile phones or small electronic appliances at once. The company charges $600 (about R8 200) for start-up equipment and aftersales technical support to entrepreneurs who want to offer charging services to the approximately 30-million mobile users in the country. The stations are also used as mini-hubs for the community “to interact with, learn about, and create their own solar energy solutions.”

SolarKiosk

Operating in Kenya and Ethiopia, SolarKiosk converts traditional kiosk-stores with solar panels, enabling it to run on its own power and provide additional services to consumers, including battery charging, refrigeration and internet access. The converted kiosks provide a vital connection for rural communities to the rest of the world. The concept has been featured at the global ideas hub Tedx and won several international innovation awards.

Source: AFKInsider

SouthAfrica.info reporter

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