How the unelectrified poor can leapfrog to off-grid solar

Published on Friday, 15 December 2017

Published by Sohail Hasnie on Friday, 15 December 2017

Afghanistan has more mobile phones than people. Across the developing world, poor people have embraced mobile phones. 

It’s time to do the same with lighting and electricity.

Millions of Afghans still rely on candles when the sun sets. They can only look at the distant power transmission lines, and hope that one day they will bring power from neighboring Central Asia.

Afghans are not the only ones waiting. In Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, almost half a billion people use kerosene for their lighting.

No electricity means no television, no computers, no long hours of studying at night. People living in unelectrified communities sometimes need to walk for miles just to charge their phones.

  New technology to fight energy poverty in Central Asia

But this is about to change – technology is coming to the rescue.

New off-grid solar technology will allow people without access to electricity to leapfrog to a world where they can generate power from the sun, store it for the night, and stay off the grid, all for a price cheaper than their kerosene bill.

Today, for many, off-grid means power for a few light bulbs and a small solar panel.  But with new, affordable technology,  the consumer appetite for off-grid is changing. 

Current off-grid consumers want enough power for a TV, a refrigerator, fans, and other appliances—they are no longer satisfied with few light bulbs and a phone charger. Choices are expanding, and maybe in the future we will see more solar panels than people in Afghanistan.

Watch the above video to check out new technology to fight energy poverty in Central Asia.