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Why innovative technology is key to delivering energy access for all?

By Mansoor Hamayun, / CEO & Co-Founder of BBOXX 28/07/2019

Meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is still a long way off, in particular SDG 7 – energy access for all. Progress has been made to close the energy access gap but there are still almost 1 billion people without electricity.

BBOXX’s vision is to use innovative technology to tackle this challenge. It is unacceptable that in the 21st century there are still people across the globe without electricity, and many more without reliable access. Electricity is a basic need – and living without it is a major hindrance to achieving a better quality of life and fostering economic development. 

The falling price of solar batteries and storage methods combined with the uptake of mobile money has meant that for the first time clean energy such as pay-as-you-go solar is now cheaper than alternatives in Africa. The conditions are ripe for BBOXX to leapfrog costly traditional infrastructures in favour of smarter solutions. 
Improving lives and unlocking potential through access to energy 

Having established operations in 12 African countries to date, BBOXX has delivered clean, affordable electricity for the first time to nearly one million people, powering the growth of communities and businesses. 

Winning the Zayed Sustainability Prize for Energy in January is testament to the way the company is making a meaningful difference to people’s lives around the world. Funds from the Zayed Sustainability Prize will enable the company to further invest in innovation, scale up and accelerate the roll-out of affordable, clean and reliable energy to previously underserved communities.

BBOXX recognises that electricity is the entry point to other utilities and value-added services that would never have been possible without the prerequisite of electricity. Energy provision creates demand in other areas – such as gas, water, internet and finance – a demand which the company also seek to meet.

To that end, BBOXX has developed cutting-edge products all managed via BBOXX Pulse. Pulse is a comprehensive management platform which allows the company to manage customer service, the maintenance of solar home systems and other key functions across vast and often remote locations. Pulse harnesses data, pioneering technology and machine-learning – all essential to scaling up and providing energy as a service to many more people. 

Contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

Urgency is required to meet the UN’s SDG global targets for 2030. As a leading next generation utility, BBOXX directly contributes to SGD 7 – ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. 

When BBOXX customers switch from kerosene and other fuels to clean energy, this also brings average annual savings of $200 per household. Off-grid solar is not only cheaper for customers than kerosene and traditional fuel alternatives, but also has the added benefits of being safer, healthier, more reliable and better for the environment. Additionally, the systems are available on a pay-as-you-go basis via mobile money, which is best suited to individuals from low income backgrounds as they only pay for what they use. BBOXX has also worked with governments to launch the roll out of subsidies.

It is estimated that oil consumption via traditional kerosene lamps worldwide are responsible for 190 million tonnes of CO2 greenhouse gas per year. BBOXX’s solar home systems are helping to displace more than 86,720 tonnes of CO2 annually. This reduces greenhouse gases and contributes to SDG 13 – combatting climate action. 

In addition, the company contributes to meeting SDG 8 – decent work and economic growth; SDG 9 – industry, innovation and infrastructure; SDG 10 – reduced inequalities; SDG 11 – sustainable cities and communities; and SDG 17 – partnerships for delivering the goals. 
Vision for the future 

BBOXX has bold ambitions to positively transform the lives of even more people and unlock potential across the developing world through access to energy. In order to do so, the business is scaling rapidly by forging strategic partnerships with global telcos, energy firms, investors, governments and technological partners. For example, BBOXX is already working with Orange in West Africa, EDF in Togo and GE in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

BBOXX has also gone a step further in articulating the vision for the future. This year in Sikpe-Afidegnon, a village in Togo, BBOXX launched its community of the future called “Tomorrow’s Connected Community”, alongside EDF, the company’s partner in Togo. This village runs on a micro-grid as well as solar home systems, providing access to a range of utilities including clean cooking solutions, internet services and water pumps. It showcases BBOXX’s complete solution to meeting the developing world’s energy challenges.

While meeting the UN’s SDGs is a huge challenge, BBOXX is convinced that using innovative technology is the key to achieving energy access for all and 100% electrification for the first time in Africa. 

 

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