Eight19's IndiGo project is bringing electricity to remote villages in Africa through a unique “Pay As You Go” solar program that allows rural villagers to generate their own power through a photovoltaic panel and battery pack. The energy can be purchased for as low as $1 per week.
Traditionally, these areas burn kerosene oil for lighting for 10 times the price, which accounts for some 190 million tons of annual CO2 emissions, according to the Berkley Laboratory at the University of California. Eight19's program allows for those users to be more productive at home, with improved lighting quality and savings.
“We aim to eliminate the use of kerosene for lighting in Africa by the end of the decade,” Dr Simon Bransfield-Garth, CEO of Eight19, told CNN.
The system can light two small rooms for seven hours at a time. Users can purchase a scratch card from a local vendor for about $1 with a code granting them access to the electricity for a week when dialed into the battery, similar to the way a mobile phone top-up card works.
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Over time, Bransfield-Gard encourages people to install larger solar systems with greater capabilities over time.
"So, in the future, if you pay a little extra you will be able to generate enough electricity to power items such as televisions, radios and fridges. This could mean providing access to similar levels of electricity that you get in most big cities," Bransfield-Garth added.
Thus far, adopters of the scheme have included remote towns in Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan and Zambia.
For its incredibly effective program, the company recently won Soluxe Solar's “Solar Flare” award, a weekly honor given out to individuals and companies making great strides in solar advancement.
“Each day we are seeing solar develop and create opportunities never before thought possible,” says Soluxe Solar CEO Jeffrey Mayer. “The creativity behind the IndiGo program, which not only has tremendous potential to improve the lives of people in these remote locations but also have a positive impact on our environment as well is fantastic. We felt this was the perfect choice for this week’s Solar Flare.”