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Non Grid Electrification: Progress Report January 2013

This past year has brought us a step closer to the vision of impacting the un-electrified areas in South Africa and Africa. As a dedicated unit, our team has made remarkable strides in fulfilling every aspect of this vision. In some areas, we have reached a satisfactory level, however, certain areas still need more attention in the pursuit of an effective Off Grid Power Utility Model. However, a comprehensive solution is currently on the table addressing all the critical areas in order to support this - including a Web Based Management System, SIM Switching as well as income generation and service models that could serve as a platform to carry us forward into a successful 2013.

Highlights

2012 Started of with another visit to the DOE Head Offices, resulting in an invitation to the Electrification Indaba held in Durban. This set the stage to focus development strategies to support the need to service un-electrified areas. This was reciprocated by a visit from the Non Grid Electrification Team at the DOE to our factory which helped in narrowing the focus for greater collaboration. Here are a few more highlights:

  • Nine design models with specific criteria were presented to the DOE early last year, on their request, as solutions for domestic homes, schools and clinics with no access to electricity.
  • A launch was done in Botswana and systems were deployed in homes and schools.
  • One of the present Concessionaires was assisted with product supply and assisted in the awarding of a Tender to electrify one of the most remote villages in South Africa. This project was successfully completed at the end of 2012, complete with TV’s and Hi-Fi’s.
  • The Sustainability Institute at the Stellenbosch University were assisted in their grant application to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. The grant was approved and the installations will commence early this year.
  • We were invited again to do another presentation at the Domestic Use of Energy Conference in Cape Town. From this grew our involvement in support and design for specific project roll outs in the Western Cape.
  • Post COP17 meetings were conducted in Upington and Durban involving the local FET Colleges and SME’s highlighting their potential for localised involvement.

 

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 NEW DEVELOPEMENTS

 

Microgrids

  • Our Microgrid range has been refined to Baseline Models – supporting various levels of appliance needs.

Appliances

  • A wider range of appliances have been tested and implemented – colour TV’s, Hi-Fi’s, radio’s, fridges and deep freezers are now commonplace.
  • Cooking, heating, cooling and water supply units are being tested and will be supplied into the market this year.

Management and Recording

  • A Web Based Management System was launched and implemented.

Income Generation

  • Income generation models are available securing a return on investment.

Training

  • The training modules for home owners, local installers and maintenance crew proved to be a workable model for job creation and sustainability. However, there is now a need for accredited more formalised training in Renewable Sustainable Energy for Non Grid Electrification

R & D

  • Jonathan and his team in our factory are still actively blowing up things in order to reach workable and reliable solutions
  • We are in communication with the CSIR and Universities working on Smart solutions for the future

Challenges

  • There is still room for improvement in reducing costs in manufacture and supply – these will be addressed in securing volume based discounts from suppliers and streamlining manufacturing processes.
  • Tender processes need input and guidance that are in line with developments in technology.
  • Time and money was wasted in the pursuit of tenders linked to demands for upfront payment for the securing of these tenders.
  • Africa is still a challenge and we can only impact this need once a working model in South Africa could be presented.

Our sincere thanks to all the role players that assisted us in the past to reach this point. Without your patience and input, we would not have been able to sustain our drive towards developing a true South African solution. With the correct collaboration and input we will succeed in reaching the poor and bring hope to those in need.

 

 

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