Powering East Africa through off grid solutions - CNBC Africa

Powering East Africa through off grid solutions

East Africa

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“There are two parts to our solution, one is on technology and the other is on the delivery model,” Sameer Hajee, Chief executive officer of the alternative energy company, Nuru Energy Group, told CNBC Africa at the World Economic Forum held in Dalian, China.

He explained that his company created a low power energy solution, called the Nuru Light, in order to provide rural homes with light at a cost effective means.

“Our target consumer is someone that typically earns about 1 to 1.50 US dollars or less per day. For that segment of the market, we noticed that there energy needs are quite basic,” said Hajee

“We therefore developed a portable LED (light-emitting diode) light, which is very cost effective, long lasting and durable and is meant to replace what they currently use which is kerosene.”

The Nuru Light can either be charged using solar panels, an AC adaptor or the POWERCycle, which was also created by the Nuru Energy Group as a pedal generator that can recharge 5 LED lights in a 20 minute cycle.

“Each light would give 28 hours of light to rural households so that’s 140 hours of light with a 20 minute cycle, which is very efficient,” he added.

“The consumers are therefore getting clean LED lighting for 10 times less than what they usually pay for kerosene.”

Instead of selling these products directly to consumers, the group created a network of local village level entrepreneurs within the region that sell the Nuru Lights at 6 US dollars to the end consumers within their villages.

In addition, those customers visit these micro entrepreneurs on a weekly basis to recharge their lights using the POWERCycle at 20 US cents per light.

“Usually, these entrepreneurs earn about a 1.50 US Dollars per day. Now they can earn a dollar in 20 minutes. It’s a very lucrative business for them,” exclaimed Hajee.