Energy and not money makes the world go round, powering twenty four hour economies and lifestyles. It is widely acknowledged that the world is in need of more energy but tempered with the realization that reliance and continued exploitation of fossil fuel sources, major contributors of greenhouse gases is not sustainable long term. Solar and wind have been seen as the saving grace. The sun being a natural nuclear fusion reactor that gives freely of its energy and strong winds being plentiful in numerous places such as locally in Turkana where The Lake Turkana Wind Power Project aims to provide 300MW of reliable, low cost power to the national grid.
As part of a program run by Village Capital a non-profit that operates business development programs for early-stage entrepreneurs in agriculture, education, energy, financial inclusion, and health, I have interacted over the course of three 4-day workshops with an amazing group of African entrepreneurs in the inaugural Hardware Africa cohort. Of the twelve hardware businesses that started the program, three are tackling energy issues in novel ways.
Strauss Energy, a Kenyan company has tapped into the sun, innovating on a solar tile that serves to provide housing cover at less than the cost of a traditional getup, while generating clean, green power that can be accessed by thousands of households at more affordable rates with the excess being sold into the national grid. Of note is that you do not even need full coverage to reap the benefits!
Kerosene and charcoal have long been used by thousands of households for their day to day energy needs with access to cooking gas seen as a luxury. PayGo Energy, also a Kenyan company is looking to displace those traditional and higher polluting sources with gas. Using a pay as you go model almost similar to, and made popular by Mkopa Solar, they have figured out how to reduce the cost of access to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) empowering many to transition to modern fuels.
For Leaper Innovative Green Energies (LiGE) from South Africa I needed a take two before I could finally grasp what they were onto, having interacted with one of the co-founders at DemoAfrica in Lagos. LIGE are into power storage technology using a patented compression system that you have to see to believe. Simply put, from whatever source you produce your energy – solar, geothermal, wind, grid et cetera you have to store it and here they beat batteries hands down from an efficiency and environment friendly perspective, where the by product is pure water with a 30 year warranty.
You can interact more and follow these companies and others as they grow by looking them up on the Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A) platform where they share more about the opportunities as they see them.