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Top 9 Solar Energy Inventions In Africa

Top 9 Solar Energy Inventions In Africa 

-Solynta Energy

Africa is intensifying its solar quest to close its massive energy gap, paving the way for one after the other utility-scale solar-energy plant. In the meantime, innovators and startups across the continent are exploring the power of the African sun to improve people’s lives.

A 2019 report called Solarize Africa, by the German Solar Association and the Becquerel Institute, shows that the combined solar photovoltaic sectors in 10 African countries alone — South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Ghana, Algeria, Ethiopia, Angola, Namibia and Tanzania  could rise from 5GW to 30GW by 2030. (Visualise 1GW as equivalent to 100 million LED light bulbs or 9 090 Nissan Leafs.)

Africa’s solar-energy potential, however, goes beyond utility-scale, residential and commercial solar installations. Across the continent, the sun as a renewable-energy source is also inspiring social entrepreneurs.

Below are the top five inventions that have made history this year.

1. Solar car wash in Cameroon

The residents of Douala in western Cameroon often face water shortages but they still like to have clean cars. The problem is an average car wash in the country uses up to 50 liters of water per vehicle. Entrepreneur Sylvain Honnang came up with an idea that saves water and doesn’t pollute the air. His solar-powered mobile car wash uses just six liters of water per car. His employees also use non-toxic, organic cleaning products.  “It’s not just a machine but a whole concept and teaching people about saving water,” said Honnang, who founded the company Howash to promote the service.

The car wash in Douala(Cameroon) uses close to 50 litres of water in a town that has being faced with water shortage. As a result of this ,water conservation when washing cars has been a challenge .Entrepreneur Sylvain Honnang invented the mobile powered car-wash to address that problem effectively. The car wash uses just SIX litres of water per vehicle. He also ensured his staff uses non-toxic organic products when cleaning to complement the effort.

2. Solar Clock  from Nigeria

Majority of residents in the southeastern part of Nigeria have being experiencing heavy power outages despite being connected to the local electricity grid. And as a result, most communities experience blackouts regularly. Due to this occurrence,  Engineer Emmanuel Obayagbona  decided to make a solar-powered clock that functions not only as a lamp but a cell-phone charger as well. This invention comes in handy when the power supply from the local grid seizes. He hopes to mass-produce it in the nearest future.

3. The introduction and spread of Solar in Cameroon

A Cameroonian scholar of renewable energy,Bolvie Wakam, decided to spread his knowledge in his home country. After his studies at the Italian University, he started training young people in his locality on how to install and use solar panels. He brought in small panel sizes and also installed solar-powered street lights. His aim is to assist rural area dwellers to benefit from solar since they have less of frequent electricity. He founded and NGO to support this mission.

 4. Human haircuts powered by Solar

Segun Adaju ( CEO of Consistent Energy Limited) moves around the city of lagos, Nigeria, promoting solar panels as a better alternative for small and medium-sized enterprises. There most businesses depend on dirty-looking, shaggy and noisy generators as  back-up for power outage when PHCN(NEPA) seizes power.

The solar panels are built to last for a minimum of 20 years and can be paid for in installments. This has made a lot of the city’s  barbershops  switch to the solar option.

5. Mobile solar kiosks

Majority of Rwanda’s 11.5 million inhabitants do have mobile phones but only about 22 percent of them have  access to power regularly. In an attempt to solve that societal problem,Henri Nyakarundi manufactured a mobile kiosk that allows Rwandans to charge their mobile devices for a little fee.This has not only solved a problem,but created an avenue for job opportunities

So far, there about 40 of them across the country operating and he intends to share the invention in neighbouring Uganda by 2018. As we enter the New Year it is our hope that these inventions get better funding and spread across the continent, with new ones being initiated in 2018.

6. Kusini Water (South Africa)

Founded by Limpopo-born water scientist Murendi Mafumo, Kusini Water has developed solar-powered plug-and-play systems that use macadamia nut shells and moringa seeds to produce potable water.

Besides a small-scale household under-sink device, the company provides larger systems for schools which can purify 1 000 litres of water per hour. The idea won them Kusini the 2019 Seda Pitch & Perfect competition, and Mafumo’s invention scored tops in four competitions including the Australian Trade Mission battle.

Looking to raise R20 million to grow, Mafumo recently pitched to investors at the 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in the Netherlands.

7.MaziwaPlus Pre-Chiller (Kenya)

Percy Lemtukei and Emmastella Gakuo from startup Savanna Circuit Tech developed their solar-powered milk storage system to be mounted on motorbikes. On top of ferrying people from A to B, motorbikes in Kenya are used to transport goods, including milk, from farmers to consumers.

The pre-chiller comprises two aluminium tanks connected to a solar panel, a milk pH test kit, an automatic weighing scale and a customised dairy co-operative management app.
Milk that fails the test is auto-rejected and the farmer is notified via SMS. The best milk is emptied into the cooling tanks, which maintain a temperature of four degrees en route, keeping milk for three days and reducing losses for farmers in remote areas.

8.SolarTurtle (South Africa)

After piloting their first solar-powered container at an Eastern Cape school in 2015, SolarTurtle’s bright green and blue shipping containers have been adopted as classrooms, kiosks, shops and offices in South Africa. One of their containers serves as Nedbank’s first solar branch in Mncwasa, 60km from Mthatha.

In May 2019, SolarTurtle signed a contract with the South African National Energy Development Institute and the Department of Science and Technology to develop next-generation SolarTurtle kiosks called BabyTurtle.

These portable kiosks will combine an integrated battery charging station with a software platform to allow people in communities without ready, reliable access to power to charge their phones and lights.

9. The community tablet (Mozambique)

This solar-powered interactive platform is the brainchild of Dayn Amade, founder of Maputo-based EduTech startup Kamaleon. Think a giant solar-powered LCD screen mounted on a trailer which can be drawn by car, motorbike or even donkey. That’s The community tablet in a nutshell.

Amade’s main objective? Educating people about health to improve the success rate of initiatives by tailoring their messages to communities via video instead of print in a country where many people cannot read. Kamaleon makes the tablet available to NGOs at no charge.

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