Powerhive is delivering prepaid solar microgrids to rural villages

© Powerhive

Combining solar, energy storage, and mobile connectivity, this solution for the developing world's energy needs will provide an entire village with clean, affordable power.

For those who have no electric lighting, getting a solar lamp or a solar charger can have a huge impact on daily life, on everything from cleaner indoor air to drastically cutting fuel and energy costs. And that's a great first step for a huge number of people who are without electricity. But taking the next step up the energy ladder, in order for people be able to affordably use electricity in the home and in businesses to produce goods and services, isn't going to happen just from distributing more portable solar devices (which, while they may be useful, are far from a sustainable solution).

That next clean energy step for the developing world, which will probably happen long before many of these countries can build or repair their energy infrastructure, much less a renewable energy infrastructure, might come in the form of solar-powered microgrids, such as Powerhive is developing. These systems, which have been in operation in rural villages in Kenya since 2012, can deliver a clean energy solution to populations of about 200 people, complete with a remote monitoring system and a mobile-based pay-as-you-go model. With a Powerhive system, homes and businesses can put solar energy to work for lighting, or to power tools or machinery, when they need it, without having to pay through the nose for it.

"We’re focused on making a real impact on people’s lives, which is why we provide enough capacity for homes, businesses, health clinics, and schools to be productive anytime and for as long as they need during any given day." - Powerhive

The company, which counts among its Advisory Board Members the actor and eco-activist Leonardo DiCaprio, just landed an $11 million equity investment from Enel Green Power late last year in Powerhive's flagship microgrid project in Kenya, which is expected to serve approximately 90,000 people. The company then closed a $20M Series A financing round in January, which will help fund Powerhive's expansion into new markets, most notably further expansion in Kenya and other locations in Africa, as well as the Asia-Pacific region. That seems to send a clear message that renewable energy projects in emerging economies and the developing world aren't simply charitable endeavors, but are also a big opportunity for 'bankable' social good investments.

"Powerhive leverages its proprietary technology platform to develop and operate portfolios of renewable microgrids that supply affordable, reliable, and productive electricity to off-­grid communities in emerging markets. Powerhive’s long-­term and scalable energy access solution drives rural economic development, reduces energy poverty, and results in cleaner, more resilient energy infrastructure in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities." - Powerhive

Find out more about Powerhive, or fill out a basic contact form on the company's website to inquire about bringing electricity to a community with this technology.

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