In light of Eskom's loan approval from the world bank, I would have to say this is quite a relevant blog post. In South Africa, a number of homes make use of paraffin fires and candles to light their homes. These methods are often used in informal settlements where Eskom's services do not even reach. Paraffin fires are extremely dangerous as they lead to a number of fires in these settlements, especially in Winter when it gets dark earlier.
For these reasons, I found that the Sola-Lite
system was an important innovation in solar technology. The Sola-Lite is the perfect replacement for candles and fires in homes where electricity is not an option. The device has been designed and developed in South Africa. Apart from the solar panels and the LEDs, all the parts for the device are manufactured and assembled locally.
The Sola-Lite comes in DIY kit with instructions for simple installation and use. The DIY aspect of this device was developed in order to cut down on costs like electricians. The batteries are housed in a controller unit, which also allows for the addition of more lights and possesses a cellphone charging unit. The need for a cellphone charger has proven evident as many local businesses in settlements will charge R20 for the recharging of a cellphone battery.
The lights attached to the system have dimming controls which enables users to be more aware of their energy consumption. The lights have a battery life six hours each per night and the controller can support two cellphone battery charging sessions a week.
The Sola-Lite was designed by Cadcom
a local engineering company specialising in the development of plastic and metal components. However, the company saw a need for low energy lights for Telkom phone booths. Today, Cadcom have produced a number of low energy consuming devices for use in informal settlements throughout South Africa.
This device will be extremely beneficial for people who cannot afford to connect themselves to Eskom's grid. And in terms of safety, there will be fewer shack fires from knocked over candles and fires.