Ethiopian Pop-Up Shop Doubles As Power Plant

Pop-up establishments are all the rage now, from restaurants that appear in a different location every week, to coworking spaces that allow people to work and collaborate while on the go. You’ve probably even run a pop-up shop yourself without knowing it: remember that childhood lemonade stand?

Portable stores have a big advantage over the brick-and-mortar types we’re all used to: they can move. Everyone gathered down town for a big event? Head to where the action is. Many African villages are miles away from the nearest store, and most don’t have reliable electricity. This limitations are no problem for the SolarKiosk, an “autonomous business unit” that allows entrepreneurs to bring their business to the customers, even when that means going off-grid.

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Image vi SolarKiosk

Designed by German architecture firm, Graft, the SolarKiosk represents a safe and reliable way for entrepreneurs in developing countries to provide their customers with life-changing products. The world’s first SolarKiosk opened just last week in Ethiopia, and thanks to the power of renewable energy, can stay open all night selling much-needed tools and dry goods. The structure is also intentionally lightweight, yet durable, and can be transported on the back of a mule if necessary.

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Image via SolarKiosk

As Gizmag reports, the SolarKiosk is equipped with rooftop photovoltaic panels so that it can also act as an energy hub for the entire village. It’s panels are capable of providing enough power for solar lighting, mobile phones, car batteries, a computer and even a solar fridge. “Furthermore, local residents will be able to purchase solar lanterns, mobile phones, re-charge cards and refreshments that one typically finds in a kiosk. Since the kiosk is most likely to house the only refrigerator in the community, it can also be used to store community emergency supplies and medicines.”

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog