Eight19 brings pay as you go solar to South Sudan

Eight19 has launched its innovative IndiGo pay-as-you-go personal solar electricity system in South Sudan following the successful rollout in Kenya last year.

The Cambridge University spin-off has partnered with WorldVenture, an international charitable organisation, to deploy the systems in rural villages in the region of Nimule in South Sudan. Eight19 hopes to deploy 1,000 units in the first half of 2012 to the region. South Sudan is the fourth African country in which Eight19 has deployed IndiGo since its launch into Kenya last September.

Eight19’s IndiGo units consist of a battery, a solar panel, lights and a phone charging device bring affordable renewable energy to off-grid communities in South Sudan. The joint-initiative aims to stimulate social and economic development by providing citizens of South Sudan, living off-grid, with affordable energy to power lighting, internet connections and electronic devices.

Currently over one fifth of the world’s population lack access to electricity via a grid and pay exorbitant prices for kerosene to fuel basic needs such as lighting. By offering solar power as a service, without high purchase costs, off-grid users can now access clean electricity for less than their current spend.

Nyungura James Ode, a rural farmer in Nimule, explains the impact on his life since having IndiGo installed: “I used to have to go to a market 3km away to buy batteries for my family's battery-powered lanterns and had to charge our mobile phones at charging stations in town twice a week. Now with IndiGo I save about half of the money I would spend on batteries and kerosene and can spend more time at home now that I don’t have to walk to the village and wait for phones to charge. Also, I do not have to worry about the light running out of power when tending to my baby at night.”

Thomas Bell, South Sudan Director of Projects at WorldVenture, said: “There is a pressing need for off-grid power in South Sudan. Eight19’s pay-as-you-go solar is a grass root solution, which is particularly important in South Sudan, where there is a complete lack of infrastructure. IndiGo has the potential to transform the energy market by enabling local energy production meaning that many people can access power without having to wait for the grid. Eight19 has started a revolution in energy provision.”