Innovative solar energy project to aid off-grid rural communities in Africa

The British-based solar energy charity organisation SolarAid has teamed up with Cambridge-based solar technology company Eight19 to provide solar energy at affordable prices to poorer people in rural parts of Africa.

SolarAid are a charity group working in rural areas throughout eastern and southern Africa with a bunch of great ideas. According to their website they believe jobs and business opportunities for poorer people in the rural areas of Africa is important.

Excellent…but here’s the solar twist. The latest innovation within the group’s aim to bring clean energy to Africa is the project with Eight19. The group describes it as a “pay-as-you-go, personal solar electricity system” known as the IndiGo system.

The project is aimed at those communities without access to grid-connected power and hopes to deliver a solar-charged home through the installation of a cheap solar panel, a battery unit with a mobile phone charger.

According to the SolarAid release the user will pay for the solar energy by putting credit on the IndiGo device using a standard mobile phone.

The SolarAid people are delighted with current trials taking place in parts of Kenya and are hoping to increase the breadth of the project into a number of other African countries in the next three months.

The team up with Eight19 is a key part in the project’s success…as pointed out by SolarAid CEO Steve Andrews.

“We are excited to be working with Eight19 on this revolutionary technology. Solar energy offers huge economic, health and social benefits to the world’s poorest people; for lighting and mobile phone charging. Eight19’s technology opens up these benefits to many more people. This is a major breakthrough.”

The IngiGo project sounds like its got winner written all over it, and the ramifications for those people living in off grid areas is enormous. The idea again marks solar energy as, not only being at the vanguard of alternative energy research in the advanced economies, but also potentially bringing affordable and clean energy to developing nations.

If successful perhaps the project could be developed as a template for the rest of the world?

Let us know your thoughts.


  1. Hi Finn
    Just a short note to let you know about the issues i am having with one of the companies that was on your sort list.Hawkings electrical.our sma inverter stopped working after two years .it is still under warranty.i have rung Hawkins at least six times to get the problem solved.i even emailed sma no response.Hawkins tell me that they will be out tomorrow.fingers crossed.So I have lost faith in Hawkins electrical and could not recommend them
    Regards Don Scott

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Don

      That behavior is unacceptable. Would you like us to contact Hawkins and get them to contact you ASAP if you don’t see them tomorrow?

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