Many remote villages or farms in non-developed countries are not yet connected to the grid due to the high costs and the complex technology of village electrification. Kerosene, candles and dry-cell batteries remain central for home lighting and basic entertainment services in most of these areas – despite their well-known negative features (indoor air pollution (IAP), fire hazards, emission of greenhouse gas (GHG), high costs etc.).
Therefore, so-called pre-electrification schemes can be an interesting alternative. Such schemes roughly include individual PV solutions - ranging from from pico PV to more serious Solar Home Systems (SHS) as well as the use of rechargeable batteries to cover the basic demand for lighting, as well as radio/TV operation and cellphone charging.Already the small amount of energy that a battery can provide improve the standard of living for the poorest.
In comparison to individual PV solutions, battery charging systems have lower initial investment costs for households; however their running cost are higher. In terms of available electricity BCS systems roughly compares to the upper end of pico PV systems, though this strongly depends on the size of the battery and the frequency at which it is recharged. In terms of available power battery charging systems perform well; a car battery can easily power a TV (though not for long).
Often some villagers already have rechargeable batteries to provide light and some other services which they however have to carry a long way - e.g. to the next town and back - in order to get them recharged. Battery charging stations (BCS) installed at central points in rural areas have the potential to considerably reduce time and expenses for recharging such batteries. Hence, there seems to be a market for convenient and clean battery-charging systems.
BCS can either be fed from electricity generated by renewable energy technologies (RETs) such as solar battery charging stations, hydro battery charging station, wind etc, or regular generators - which may e.g. be coupled to the local mill; in some cases BCSs can be fed from directly from (the end of) the grid. Particularly in remote areas RETs can be economically competitive while being independent and bringing BCS much closer to the customer.
Charging Solutions for Mobile Phones
There are more than 4 billion mobile connections worldwide. Over the coming years, many more millions of people at the base of the economic pyramid are expected to acquire mobile phones, greatly benefiting their lives, business activities and access to information. However, most of these new subscribers will not have direct access to electricity.
This makes it more challenging and expensive for them to charge their mobile phone. Green power for mobile GSMA Development Fund believes that electrification is extremely relevant to mobile operators.
If there are 1.6 billion people in the world without access to grid electricity, GSMA and Wireless Intelligence research estimates suggest that 30% of those people have a mobile phone connection. This means nearly 500 million people currently have access to a mobile phone but do not have their own means of charging it. When mobile phones are switched off due to lack of power, it can result in missed calls and reduced airtime revenues for mobile operators. Field studies shows that a constant source of charging the usage increase in 10%.
Considering average airtime spending of the average off-grid customer (US$4 per month) bwig increased by 10% in a 500 million people market, the expected increase in direct revenues would total US$2.3 billion per year.
-> For more information about mobile phone market in Kenya , see the article Mobile Phone Market in Kenya.
- ↑ GSMA - http://www.gsma.com/publicpolicy/mobile-and-health/gsma-research