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Pemba ยป Solar

Is wireless electricity possible?

Several Pemban communities don’t have access to electricity. As an NGO/environmental start-up, the prospect of having to maintain a community-scale energy project is a bit overwhelming. In order to access energy communities traditionally need power generation, transmission lines, and expensive home wiring. Governments are best suited to provide electricity given the intense infrastructure and long-term maintenance required. As a result, the CFI team had to think outside of the box in order to find a solution. When asked for help, CFI doesn’t conform to the notion of impossibility.

What if clean renewable solar energy didn’t need power lines? What if energy could be transported from panel to home without the need of traditional infrastructure? In 2013, CFI provided electricity to 200 homes on the islets of Kokota and Uvinje without stringing a single transmission line. The solution was simple. If electricity needed to travel from solar panels and battery banks to households why not carry it? CFI supplied each household with a motorcycle battery and home lighting kit and the community did the rest. The batteries are charged by solar panels located on top of rainwater harvesting tanks. Once the batteries are charged, community members simply carry them home and plug them in. Each motorcycle battery can power a home for up to a week, and the components are easily maintained given their widespread availability. These communities even took it one step further by setting up community-run treasuries to manage and maintain their energy systems. These systems have been dubbed “portable micro-grids” and have provided thousands of Pembans with clean, renewable energy.

In total, CFI has set up six rural energy systems. These systems feature community-charging stations in schools or mosques and provide communities with a place to charge their cellphones and batteries for home energy. Over 1.2 billion people around the world currently don’t have electricity. Imagine if the future of energy was clean, renewable and wireless?