Technology

Rwanda, the rural remote are pioneering with solar technology.

Rural Rwanda is home to a pioneering new solar power idea Source: BBC.

Majority of the population of today’s world enjoys the services of electrical power supply without much fuss. They have taken for granted that they will get electricity when they require it. They can illuminate their place, adjust air conditioning temperature or plug other devices without much worry. The power supply has been taken for granted. But not everybody enjoys the amenities, some class of the society do not get electricity at all. For a fact about 1.2 billion people i.e. about 16% of the global population have no access to electricity at all.

BBOXX technicians installing a large system in Goma, on the shores of Rwanda’s Lake Kivu, where the electricity is unreliable (Credit: BBOXX)

Rwanda was one of such places which are facing the dismal situation where about 20% of its population was getting proper power supply and the rest were just facing the darkness. This situation was rather seen as an opportunity by the Equinox: a charity devoted in electrifying few communities in Rwanda.

Being off the grid “was a big challenge as we couldn’t bring light into our homes or charge our mobile phones,” says Bimenyimana Philippe (Credit: BBOXX)

BBOXX – a London based company that brings off-grid energy to the developing world visited Rwanda with a team back in 2009. They analyzed the situation there and came to conclusion that if people are willing to spend their money on kerosene and batteries for their energy requirements then why not spend the same amount on solar power alternatives.

An electronic engineer fixes a broken BBOXX in the Kigali distribution center (Credit: Rachel Nuwer)

Government and other agencies also believed that solar power is a long term solution to the power woes of Africa. But the expenses of the project were to be taken care of, as charity and freebie projects can often fail for a money making business. It can be proved one way and fail to make impact in a long run. The energy companies needed funding for the projects and had to convince the funding companies that investing in the energy solutions of Africa is a good investment in a long run. After much struggle BBOXX got their initial investors in Khosla Impact which believed in their vision.

BBOXX is one of many companies in Africa looking to convince people that electricity is something worth paying for (Credit: Rachel Nuwer)

BBOXX has now started installing solar units and is providing them to the people of Rwanda. For those who cannot afford the unit at one goes, the company has provided monthly installment plans for them. The company has also designed accessories that consume less power than the conventional ones. Such accessories include shavers, smartphones, television, etc. This initiative by BBOXX and other energy companies to electrify the rural areas of Africa is of immense help for the people. They have got access to electricity and that has simplified their way of living by many folds.

 Article by Indrajeet.

Rwanda, the rural remote are pioneering with solar technology.
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