Eight19 launches firm to develop pay-as-you-go solar
Azuri Technologies set up to bring cheaper solar options to Africa and Asia
Report from – Jo Smit
Eight19, a developer and manufacturer of solar cells based on printed plastic, has launched a business to develop its pay-as-you-go photovoltaic technology for off-grid markets. Eight19 will focus on technology development while the new business, Azuri Technologies, will expand the product range and market reach.
Eight19 was established in 2010 to develop research from Cambridge University into printed plastic solar modules. Over the last year it has developed Indigo, a ‘pay-as-you-go’ product range for off-grid customers in emerging markets. Earlier this year, it began trials in Africa and expects real-world data to accelerate and facilitate product development.
Payment by scratchcard
Indigo combines low-cost, lightweight printed plastic photovoltaic cells with mobile phone technology to provide access to clean renewable energy and cut users’ energy bills by up to half. Historically, high up-front costs have prohibited wider uptake of small solar systems in many parts of Africa and Asia. Mobile phone technology enables solar electricity to be delivered as a service using scratchcards for payment.
Users begin with a system capable of supplying eight hours of lighting for two rooms and mobile phone charging, which cuts their weekly spend on kerosene and mobile phone charging fees. Customers can expand their system to deliver lighting, media, communications and information.