The concept of an energy kiosk was our first steps towards finding the blueprint solution to rural electrification.
What is an energy kiosk?
It acts as a centralised hub and is an essential part of the solution, which consists of 3 parts: generation, storage and distribution.
Generation – Depending on the consumption, different sizes and numbers of solar panels are installed on a metal frame which is then connected to the roof of the buildings. The wire are combined and connected to the devices in the kiosk. In our Rugaragara kiosk, hydro power is used instead.
Storage – To prevent power shortages and access to electricity at night, big storage batteries are installed, that are charged during sunshine. To manage the power flow we use a charge controller that is connected between the solar panels and the storage battery as well as an inverter. The inverter enables the system to use all kind of low power devices in the kiosk.
Distribution – Small battery boxes are used to make the electricity “portable”. Locals can then sign up to our renting scheme to use the boxes and exchange them for a small fee back at the kiosk once emptied. Click here to find out more about our battery boxes.
The energy kiosks are maintained a shopkeeper, selected and trained by e.quinox from a variety of applicants. The shopkeeper is responsible for maintaining the electrical system, recharges the batteries and deals with customer affairs.
As mentioned above, the battery boxes are given out to customers against a small deposit as well as a fee upon recharge of the battery box. Once a battery is depleted, customers can return to the kiosk and exchanged for a fully charged one. This effectively provides a “Pay as you Go” service, hence making our solution affordable to poor families in rural areas, while covering the costs for equipment maintenance and salaries.
By additionally providing a full lighting solution, the battery boxes also offer a cheaper and safer alternative to expensive and hazardous kerosene lamps, which are currently widely used in areas like rural Rwanda. The pricing of recharges is also selected to be competitive with such sources.
We currently have 5 kiosks across Rwanda and Tanzania. Find out more about each kiosk by clicking on the links below.