|MICROGRID BUSINESS MODELS GAIN TRACTION IN KENYA AS AFRICA LEAPFROGS ELECTRIC GRID|
By Microgrid Media | February 2016
One of the most interesting aspects of distributed energy is that rural areas in developing countries have a major advantage. [!!] Not only do they have the most to gain, but they are better positioned to build a 21st-century electricity systems from the ground-up, without worrying about sunk costs and push-back from monopoly utility companies and fossil fuel lobbyists. One company that has recently gained our attention is SteamaCo, a renewable energy microgrid supplier in Kenya.
Their software delivers on the speculation that new business models will allow energy companies to interface with first-time electricity consumers from their cell phones. Borrowing from successful cell phone companies in Africa, SteamaCo turns electricity into a ‘pay-as-you-go’ service with no contract or obligation. When credit runs out, electricity is cut automatically, and the customer can buy more credit using a ubiquitous payment system Kenyans are already familiar with. Electricity from renewable energy microgrids is often less expensive then kerosene, which also causes health problems and fire hazards.
fac: we saw leap-frogging with wireless Internet; why not with electrification... as it happens, it's the need to charge mobile phones that's become one of the major drivers for implementing new sources of electricity...
See related Video: How Africa is Hacking Its Energy Crisis (~ 8 mins): youtu.be
See also, Why the Energy Crisis [in Africa] Discriminates Against Girls (~3 mins): youtube.com