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The three requirements for unserviced communities in informal settlements and rural areas are: Affordability, Reliability and Sustainability. The introduction of new Smart Grid technology and appliances in DC format validates Specialized Solar Systems as a service provider offering clients a product that is financially acceptable.


There is a difference between supplying energy in volumes and being an energy service provider. When supplying an energy service, a tailored offering can be presented to individual customers that will suit their needs, are within their budget and, more importantly, within their understanding.



The hardware design and capital cost have to be governed and adjusted accordingly, in keeping with the income of each individual customer. The sub-centralized concept was formulated with this in mind. This modular generation capacity has been designed to be implemented in segments, maintaining the same capital cost per house per segment. By starting with a 7-house unit and increasing this to a 12-house unit, then to a 19-house and/or 24-house unit, this process is simple and quick.


The history of the solar industry shows us that energy is available on the good sunny days, but ample storage and control is required for bad sun days. The sub-centralized modular nano-grid monitors every part of the process: generation, customer consumption, consumption patterns, weather patterns, and storage facets. By doing so, basic interfaces are used to ensure that the controlled service is delivered without disappointment. The intelligence of the hardware determines the sustainability of the service, not the sun.


Ideally, there should be no limitations put on the customer. Within the control of the energy generation of each sub and in relation to the business model selected, the sky is the limit! The customer can choose which service they would like to start with and effectively grow it, according to their personal requirements.


The segmentation of capital cost is directly related to the time period of energy generation. This energy generation cycle is fully dependent on the ratio of  investment period selected. A 20-year cycle of performance is expected with maintenance, depending on what storage will be used. Storage could be  flow zinc-bromide, lithium iron phosphate or lead-acid batteries.


Holistic establishment of a Smart DC Distribution Network does not only consist of intelligent hardware, but is a basis of expertise in order to have a successful project completed. This basis consists of the following:

Intelligent hardware

To ensure the sustainable supply of energy, all aspects of energy generation, transmission and supply need to be fully monitored and remotely managed. The shortfalls within the sun generation curves and storage parameters should be supplemented via various action and trigger points. Controlling customers’ load curves automatically via a 24-hour cycle, allows the utility to maintain an excess of 93% supply to generation point.

Fund experts

Solar experts, project managers and energy implementers do not have the expertise to present or manage funds. A reputable, registered and experienced fund manager needs to advise on the required performances related to the fund for a well-designed energy supply model. Cresco fulfils this fund manager role.

User-friendly and easily accessible payment platform

Each informal settlement is different; different people with different understandings. The payment platform needs to present itself as a simple customer procedure with an integrated management control platform behind this presentation. The latest e-power vendor platform will be used to fulfil all these functions.

Development of model flow and improvement

Moore’s Law shows that technology develops exponentially. Experience allows us to use technology to offer a better service to individual customers, improving all aspects of living conditions. Energy supply model formulation is only the start of this journey – communication, education and health will all form part of this process.

Financial and project management

A sustainable project needs to be profitable. Managing all facets of an energy project is complicated and requires experience and understanding of good management practice. DCGo fulfils this management responsibility.

On-ground support

A clear skill transfer of expertise needs to take place with the correct identified people in the communities. Local ownership of this model is of utmost importance. Co-ordination of customers with the support of a skilled technical leg is key to each project’s success.

Formation of legal structures

A sustainable medium term project (20 years) needs to be formulated within the correct legal framework. The establishment of legal structures, be it co-ops, Pty Ltd’s or a service agreement between the community and management, ensures that the model is not based on individuals, but on individuals within certain confirmed responsibilities.

Understanding the community to establish correct perceptions with dignity

Communities that have not had services for 30 years are susceptible to false promises. Relationships need to be developed with clear communication about each individual process planned. Guidelines have been developed to ensure this will be managed within certain parameters.

Co-ordination of community leadership and political interference

Community leadership is generally politically positioned. A sustainable project entails the delivery of a service for a value acceptable to the people of that community. Politics has nothing to do with this. The state however is party to this initiative by default. State involvement is welcome within the framework of the communities, as all assistance is needed to ensure our unserved gets assisted.

Please note: Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)
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