Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica
Ability to Save Over Time Justin Gray Huffington Post

Clean Power

Solar Power In A Bottle Thanks To Elephant Energy, USAID, & divi

Justin Gray for Huffington Post

Image Credit: Justin Gray

Living off the grid necessitates and demands innovation. A happy new innovation for some off-grid, energy poverty–challenged folks is solar power in a bottle. The organizations to thank for this new option are the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Elephant Energy, and divi, Inc.

Justin Gray and Vrinda Manglik, writing for the Huffington Post, cut to the heart of this problem for those who are poor and off the grid:

“These people increasingly benefit from energy innovations and pay and you go services: Every day, 1.3 billion people (20 percent of the world’s population) that lack access to electricity pay the price in the form of compromised health, well-being, education, and livelihoods. The most glaring example of that is the fact that consumption of Kerosene and other forms of fuel-based energy can compromise upwards of 30 percent of a poor household’s energy budget in Africa. These households keep buying Kerosene because it has a low upfront cost and they can buy it in incremental amounts that reflect their small and unpredictable cash-flow.”

Poor Pay More: Justin Gray Huffington Post

Why does it have to be the sad truth that the poor pay more. Well, the good news is that, as long as there are poor, there are also those service-oriented people trying to make a difference in their lives. And, in this situation, solar power is a great solution… when it can be offered without everything having to be paid up front.

Ability to Save Over Time Justin Gray Huffington Post


Enter Elephant Energy and divi, Inc. Elephant Energy is a Denver-based non-profit organization which operates market-based distribution networks in Namibia, Zambia, and the Navajo Nation. The organization works with known entrepreneurs and businesspeople in the local areas to deliver solar energy products in rural communities, in addition to providing sales and marketing training to these agents.

Near the end of 2013, they were awarded $500,000 in a second stage funding grant from USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures program, to support their Creating Digital Kerosene Project. This project uses a pay-to-own system of credit to make energy products (such as solar lamps and cell phone charging devices) affordable by payment through weekly installments. The goal is to provide light to 16,000 homes in the next two years.

Their unique innovation is a Bluetooth chip that allows specific solar devices to talk to other devices (M2M technology). For rural communities, this means that sales agents can “unlock” solar lamps when customers pay their bills (and “lock” them when they don’t). Once the customer has paid the installments adding up to the full cost of the light, their light becomes permanently unlocked.

This pay as you go technology isn’t entirely new — we’ve covered it before here. What is new is that divi provides the ability for customers to swap credits through M2M technology. It’s like a neighbor having the ability to ‘borrow or sell’ kerosene depending on their cash flow. This is a truly exciting innovation that makes solar energy a fungible commodity; in essence, it bottles solar energy.

Indeed, there are a number of pay-as-you-go solar ventures out there. It’s great to see a variety, and so much continued innovation. This is certainly an exciting one.

Read more on off-grid and pay-as-you-go programs here:

Cheap Pay-As-You-Go Solar For Developing Countries

Pay-As-You-Go Solar Start-Up Bringing Cheap Clean Light To Kenya

Barclays Ponies Up £1 Million Loan For Pay-As-You-Go Solar Systems For Sub-Saharan Homes

POD Point Is Launching Pay-As-You-Go Car Charging Network

Pay-As-You-Go Solar Power for Customers Off the Grid in World’s Youngest Country

Keep up to date with all of the latest news on solar energy here on CleanTechnica. Subscribe to our free solar energy newsletter or overall cleantech newsletter to never miss a story.

 
 
 
Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
 

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Advertisement
 
Written By

Cynthia Shahan started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. (Several unrelated publications) She is a licensed health care provider. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education, mother of four unconditionally loving spirits.

Comments

You May Also Like

Clean Power

The first West African hydro-solar plant was deployed in Ghana in January, with technical support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)...

Clean Power

Laboratory Is Building up Young Energy Leaders in Colombia Through Hands-on Training and Education While much of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) campus...

Clean Power

Greenlight Planet, one of the world's leading off-grid solar providers, this week announced that it has successfully raised $60 million in new funding led...

Clean Power

This week, Mobisol has announced that it has acquired Lumeter, one of the largest providers of pay-as-you-go (PAYG) software for the off-grid solar industry....

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.