Econet Solar is launching a new product with the goal of providing stable, off-grid electricity in rural areas of the globe, namely Africa. The company has unveiled The Home Power Station in hopes that it can begin providing power to the estimated 70 percent of Africans that don’t have a source of electricity.
The Home Power Station uses a solar panel to charge a battery which provides enough juice for four lights and a cell phone charger. But the most interesting thing about the system is the way people pay for their power. It is said to be the first solar power system that is paid for via pre-paid cell phone. An estimated 96 percent of of mobile subscriptions in Africa are on a pre-paid, or pay as you go basis.
Product trials for the system will begin in the next few weeks in a number of countries, with commercial availability expected in the first half of 2012. Eventually, Econet sees the product serving homes of all sizes, in addition to businesses. The company says the product is fully scalable.
The Econet Solar Home Power Station comes with four LED lights, a Home Power Station controller, a battery, a solar panel, cabling and a cell phone charger. It has been designed to light up to four rooms for as many as five hours a day using only the power of the sun.