Solar Power is Lighting up Africa

Posted on Jun 13 2013 - 6:52pm by Brent Hardy

 

Extra Space Storage has had an incredible solar power journey, we’ve installed solar at over 100 facilities so we’re advocates of clean energy use where feasible.  I was inspired to learn from a recent Businessweek article that solar power is lighting the way for many people in Africa.

 

Thanks to innovative companies like the UK’s Azuri Technologies, families in Africa can finally afford to install solar systems to take care of needs like lighting and mobile phone charging. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Azuri has installed or is working on more than 20,000 solar systems in Malawi, Kenya, Zambia, South Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia.

 

Solar Power is Lighting up Africa

Image from Azuri Technologies

 

Pay-As-You-Go Solar that Saves Families Money

In America, we tend to take for granted the routine luxury of having lights on when we need them. In Africa, it’s typical to use expensive kerosene for light, and families can’t afford the start-up cost of about $70 for a solar energy system. Azuri has come up with a solution: pay-as-you-go solar! With Indigo, a solar power technology and business model, customers in off-grid emerging markets can save money and have clean energy too, a big win-win.

 

Families Replace Kerosene with LED Lights

After paying an installation fee of $10, customers pay about $1.50 a week for the energy they use to charge their mobile phones and light up two LED fixtures for eight hours a day. That $1.50 a week is around half of what Azuri’s customers were paying using kerosene! After about 18 months of weekly payments, the solar unit is paid for in full. Another benefit of Indigo is that the increased amount of household light, household productivity increase along with the opportunity to add more power in the future.

 

Solar Power is Lighting up Africa

Image by Azuri Technologies

 

Expanding Energy Dreams

While Indigo provides enough power to charge mobile phones and run two LED lights, customers will naturally want more. How about four lights, radios, sewing machines and TV? Azuri wants to make those things possible. Their Energy Escalator is an upgrade plan that allows Indigo to grow into a system that can provide more power. Azuri uses a pay-as-you-grow plan to make those energy dreams possible.

 

I find it very exciting that solar power is becoming a much more accessible source of clean energy for families in Africa, and I’m looking forward to reading all of the success stories!

 

Are you surprised by how much a simple solar system can do for a family? Does this story inspire you to add solar power to your own home?

 

Solar Power is Lighting up Africa

About Brent Hardy

VP Facilities Management
Extra Space Storage

Brent Hardy has been with Extra Space Storage since 2001. He currently oversees all corporate construction & facilities management activities for Extra Space Storage. Brent has been the driving force for corporate responsibility with energy management and sustainability programs. His successful management in these areas has directly contributed to the growth of Extra Space Storage. Brent’s green initiatives have included solar power, implementing energy efficient lighting systems and daylight harvesting on a corporate scale for over 800 properties. He enjoys fishing, water skiing, avoiding airplanes and spending time with his wife and four daughters. Brent began his career in self-storage after spending several years with various firms in construction and operations management both in Salt Lake and New York City.

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