To help alleviate the electricity problem in Africa, four entrepreneurs have come up with ePower, a green community energy solution, which is not connected to the electricity grid.
Tariq Yusuf, Brent Peterson, Rudi van der Westhuizen and Thlopie Motsepe have converted shipping containers into mini energy hubs using solar energy.
The 20ft shipping container can provide 500 household battery swaps per day and a 40ft container can provide 1,000 a day. The household battery is 12 volts which comes with an LED light capable of lighting a small room and the battery is also capable of charging small appliances in each household.
These containers also offer a series of services, electricity being the main source which ensures that the ePower model is self-sufficient. The containers also provide communities with 24-hour TV viewing, an internet café with 24/7 wi-fi as well as educational platforms.
Charging batteries and cell phones generates enough income to employ about four people in each community who share the responsibility of ensuring the containers work efficiently. As an African innovative solution, ePower has set its sights on the rest of Africa, planning to roll out 15 containers in each country by 2019 with entrepreneurs running and profiting from this initiative. “We believe that this will motivate more African entrepreneurs to initiate their own ePower containers in other off-grid communities,” says Yusuf. “ePower has just been deployed in Zambia and we are currently in talks with Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Nigeria,” he continues. As a way of breaking into the international scene, ePower has recently entered The Zayed Future Energy Prize in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. This annual prestigious award focuses on achievements in renewable energy and sustainability that reflect impact and long-term vision. “We have also entered the Beyond the Grid Zambia Fund aimed at powering one-million Zambian’s living off-grid. We strongly believe that this will assist in increasing demand for containers in this country,” he concludes.