PowerCorner: providing sustainable electricity in Africa24/10/2016
PowerCorner, inaugurated on October 19th 2016, is a project developed by ENGIE employees through the incubation process that aims to give rural communities in northern Tanzania access to electricity through a combined generator and mini-grid.
620 million Africans currently lack access to electricity. Mini-grids are expected to eventually provide energy for over 120 million of them. PowerCorner is meant to begin meeting these needs in a way that is sustainable, affordable and renewable.
What is PowerCorner?
PowerCorner consists of a containerized solar power generator (16 kWh), a Li-Ion battery bank capable of storing 45 KWh, a standby generator and a mini-grid for electricity distribution. The goal of the PowerCorner solution is to provide quality electricity at competitive prices (comparable to current energy expenditures) but using environmentally-sound solar technologies instead of current sources of energy such as kerosene lamps, car batteries and petrol-powered generators.
An innovative business model guarantees that the system is sustainable and that the community participates in the project. The customer pays a connection fee and then uses electricity monitored by a prepayment meter. Payments are made using mobile devices – mobile money systems. And an operator is hired from the village to manage the "PowerCorner".
Also, energy-efficient devices like TVs and refrigerators are sold alongside the system with favorable credit options. The goal of this is to help sustainably grow the local ecosystem and economy on the basis of the PowerCorner micro-grid. Over time, this will help ensure its economic viability and provide a model for sustainable growth.
Why launch PowerCorner in Tanzania?
Tanzania has a favorable regulatory framework that lets mini-grid operators develop in collaboration with national institutions.
ENGIE Tanzania chose to install the first PowerCorner in the village of Ketumbeine in the Arusha region (161 homes, 800 residents). It has been operational since March 2016, and already has 50 customers (90 others are expected to join).
ENGIE is capitalizing on the PowerCorner experience in Tanzania to continue developing mini-grids both in Tanzania and in other African countries with suitable regulatory frameworks.
Check out the video and take a virtual tour of Tanzania’s PowerCorner.