Combatting Africa’s Energy Crisis – One Home at a Time

South Africa, and increasingly Africa, is becoming more and more proactive in efforts to improve energy access in all areas.

Around fifteen percent of the world’s population lives in Africa, yet only three percent of global electricity supply is consumed on the continent.

One company’s prevalence in the African market is growing rapidly – bringing off-the-grid energy to thousands of homes across 19 African countries including Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Angola, Kenya, Madagascar, the Seychelles, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Egypt and South Africa.

The system is distributed in South Africa by Power Up Supply, a division of the Build Africa Corporation. It harvests power from a variety of sources – solar panels, windmills, generators, or the grid, and uses the energy to power your home or business while saving the energy to crystal battery banks for use when you need it.

“We are offering the consumer a high-tech control unit with a crystal battery bank, with a similar look to an Apple phone and a control system just a little larger than the average laptop,” says Miles Oates, chief executive officer of Build Africa.

These Power Up units are ergonomically designed and compact enough to be installed in a garage, lounge, kitchen, or under a desk in an office.

“It emits no gases, no radiation and has a very low fire risk unlike other cumbersome acid, gel and lithium-based systems,” says Oates. “It is the greenest of alternative energy solutions.”

The product, according to Oates, is still vastly cheaper than other similar products on the market.

“We want it to be accessible to a wider spread of income brackets, with the aim of having a unit in every home,” he adds.

incharge Power Up Office
somerset-west

There are currently 2 500 Power Up units installed in Africa and approximately 800 in South Africa, with the addition of Power Up systems installed in each of 480 units in a new residential development in Somerset West – making it the largest green residential development in South Africa, if not Africa.

“It is possible for everyone to produce their own power,” Oates explains. “This system gives people the power to make and save the energy themselves. We provide everything people need, often at additional cost to ourselves.”

“We’re lucky here in South Africa. We have many alternatives and options when it comes to ensuring our ongoing power supply. But Africa as a whole has huge power problems. There are many derelict places with poor service management and complete lack of capital where there is no wave of a magic wand to fix it.”

Oates’s desire is to see Power Up, or similar, units in every home. He compares this to the early 70s when the only computers were very large units only accessible to big businesses. This, he believes, is where the power sector is going – perhaps not to the same scale, but it is certainly possible to see homes around the world going off the grid.

The eyes of the world’s energy community are on Africa, so much so that Cape Town is host to the African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa conference from 17 to 19 May at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The conference and trade exhibition plays host to global energy experts to address challenges around power generation.

Power Up is a complete energy solution that uses advanced “In Charge®” European Technology to deliver a compact solution to reliable power supply.

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