There are parts of the world–Rwanda, for example–where many rural areas don’t have electricity. And while the issues associated with creating grid infrastructure to support the nation’s villages may be out of reach, small, centralized sources of power sourced from renewable energy are not.
That’s the thinking behind the e.quinox Energy Kiosk, developed by a team of students at Imperial College London, which delivers reliable electricity to rechargeable batteries, which can then be used to power lights at home. In this system, a kiosk covered in solar panels will recharge battery boxes for a nominal fee. Individuals can then use these batteries for lighting, phone charging or to power a radio–whatever is needed. The centralization of the system within the village also allows for juice to be routed 24/7 to “community appliances” of communal importance, such as a water purifier.
In 2009, a team of nine students from the team installed a working Energy Kiosk at a village in the Minazi Sector of the Gakenke District in the Northern Province of Rwanda. The Kiosk has a production capacity of around 420 watts at peak capacity, and is currently being evaluated for usage data, which will be used in expanding the project into other provinces.