While many countries are trying to wean themselves off expensive and dirty fossil fuel energy, much of the world is still waiting on any type of electricity. Some 1.4 billion people lack access to electricity, and rather than start them down the same path we’re trying to get off, the hope is that they can forgo the journey and just relax at the renewable-energy finish line.
However, as one would expect, it’s not as simple as installing huge wind and solar farms throughout parts of Africa and Asia. Most of the people in need of electricity live in rural areas, lacking infrastructure to connect to a power grid or the upfront money to install solar locally.
With this in mind, one company from Cambridge, U.K., developed an innovative, affordable way to deliver electricity to that 1.4 billion. Eight19, whose name comes from the eight minutes and 19 seconds it takes for light from the sun to reach Earth, created a way to harness solar power using an organic solar cell that is printed onto a flexible, plastic sheet that produces power for their their pay-as-you-go solar power system, IndiGo.
The entry-level IndiGo system includes a 3-watt solar panel, battery, two LED lamps, phone charging unit and module, all of which allows users to buy electricity using their mobile phone, and is available to customers for just $10.