A London, UK-based social enterprise has developed a portable solar charger that allows users to charge USB devices like lamps and mobile phones in off-grid communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Through a network of mentors and partners, Eternum Energy “identifies and trains local entrepreneurs in off-grid communities who rent the kit and charge local people to use it,” SciDevNet reports. Company founder Siten Mandalia designed the device, Solaris, based on his research at Imperial College in the UK, and on community pilot projects in Malawi and Tanzania.
“Across Tanzania, just 15% of people had electricity access in 2010,” SciDevNet reports. “In rural areas, this figure falls to around 2%, so off-grid energy solutions are vital, especially as mobile phones are often the only available form of communication technology.”