The South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi), the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and community empowerment solar photovoltaic (PV) product developer SolarTurtle have signed a contract to develop the next-generation SolarTurtle solar energy kiosk, called the BabyTurtle.
“This contract will see the design and implementation of three new solar kiosk designs of various portable sizes. They will all follow the SolarTurtle’s fold-away designs, but now our software will also be upgraded,” SolarTurtle CEO Lungelwa Tyali said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Sanedi, with support from the DST, has pledged a significant amount of money for the development of community-owned green businesses that help to eradicate energy poverty and create grassroots, green economy jobs, the statement said.
“A new, integrated battery charging station technologycoupled with a software platform for the operators, customers and donors will allow these energy kiosks to provide immediate relief to people who struggle to keep their phones and lights powered.”
The SolarTurtle concept is to deploy containerised PV kiosks that serve as micro-utility franchises in rural and informal settlements to make a tangible difference to the lives of people.
The system, built within a twenty-foot shipping container, with polycrystalline solar PV cells on top and an integrated inverter secured inside, harvests solar energy and stores some of the energy in lead crystal batteries, which do not emit harmful or dangerous gases, overheat or contain dangerous chemicals. The enterprise also provides mobile device charging and microwave-based broadband Internet connections to the community at a low cost.
The software will also include features like e-motivation linked with e-training, which will help to push the small green businesses to new heights, said SolarTurtle developer, founder and chief engineer James van der Walt.
During the three-year contract, SolarTurtle will produce, test and commercialise these new solar-powered units with the accompanying software packages.
SolarTurtle will also open an Eastern Cape economic development office from where the energy poverty and unemployment concerns of the provinces will be tackled, said Tyali.
Source: Engineering News