How solar technology is improving informal settlements
 

Solar power technology is playing an important role in empowering disadvantaged communities that don’t have access to electricity, providing better safety and work opportunities along the way. A number of creative and innovative projects have been implemented in an effort to improve the living conditions of people living within informal settlements across the country.

 

Millions of South Africans cannot afford housing and are left with no other choice but to live in shacks made of corrugated iron. One of the main problems with this is that corrugated iron is a highly flammable material. As there is usually no access to electricity, many people living within these settlements make use of candles or paraffin for lighting, and wood fires for cooking, meaning that shack fires have become dreadfully common.

 

Solar technology advances and cheap solar power projects aim to save lives and remove the fear that your home and belongings may disappear in a puff of smoke.

Let’s take a look at some of the fantastic renewable energy projects that are improving informal settlements:

 

Generating Electricity – Shining a Light in the Darkness

 

The iShack Project

 

Started in 2011, the iShack Project uses solar technology to improve household living conditions and meet basic energy needs at an affordable price. The project drew the attention of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the government’s Green Fund, with both playing a part in funding.

The iShack Project consists of a photovoltaic solar panel capable of producing enough electricity to power two lights, a cell phone charger, an external security light and a television set. Over 1000 solar home systems have been installed in the Enkanini informal settlement to date.

 

Shacurity Solar Lighting Kit

 

Shacurity, by i Power SA, is a solar powered shack fire prevention kit. The kit consists of a solar panel, panel mounting stand, LED lights, 12 V socket for a cell phone charger, a mini fire extinguisher and a control unit that includes a 120 DB siren that can be triggered by a panic button or an optical smoke detector.

Kits are built with locally manufactured panels, designed for robustness, cost effectiveness and long service life. Kits are easily expandable with more lights and power to ensure that every home is well catered for.

 

“The Lightie” Solar Bottle Light

 

South Africa is filled with incredible inventors like Michael Suttner, who developed The Lightie. Built into a cheap acrylic soda bottle, this low cost solar powered light makes use of lithium battery technology to supply homes with 40 hours of light from just 8 hours of sunlight. This simple solution outputs 12x more light than a paraffin lantern and can even be charged during cloudy or rainy weather.

 

Total Awango solar range

 

Total Awango offers a range of solar powered products that are aimed at providing a reliable and affordable energy solution to disadvantaged communities. Products range from simple solar lamps which can stay lit for up to eight hours to more advanced lamps with built-in universal cell phone chargers which can last up to 100 hours. Lights have been manufactured to deliberately be moved around the house, making them portable and easy to carry.

In 2014 Total Awango sold over 500,000 lamps in South Africa, and they are aiming to sell at least 1 million lamps by the end of 2016.

 

Lumkani’s Fire-Detection Device

 

Lumkani is a fire detector and alert service that uses radio technology and solar power, making it perfect for informal dwellings. The initiative was recently chosen as one of the overall winners in The Venture, a competition that rewards the next big idea in social enterprise.

What sets this device apart from others is that it is designed to detect heat, rather than smoke, since a great deal of heating and cooking equipment used within informal settlements are often smoky by nature.

If the alarm is not switched off within 20 seconds, it will trigger all the neighbouring alarms within a 60 metre radius. This promotes a community-wide response. The alarm has a solar powered internet gateway that sends an alert SMS to community leaders. This feature can also be set to alert disaster management services, sending the GPS co-ordinates of the device for convenience.

 

 

Solar Powered Geysers

 

In 2008, when load shedding first took hold of South Africa, government launched its solar water heating rebate programme. While Eskom was unable to meet their target of a million solar geysers installed by 2013, having only installed 400 000, the solar technology potential still looks promising.

The project plans to be moved to the department of energy by the end of January 2016, where it will hopefully be bolstered. The installation of 400 000 systems makes this one of the largest solar water heating programmes worldwide, which will hopefully bring hot water to many more low cost homes in the years to come.

 

Going solar with Soventix

 

If you are interested in solar panel installation for your home on business, fill in our contact form so that we can provide you with the best possible solutions.

 

You can also contact us via:

Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333

Email: info@soventix.co.za

 

 
 
 
Previous Posts
 
Solar power Africa: Morocco’s World’s Largest Concentrated Solar Power Plant
   
Going Solar: Solar Impulse 2 – Back in the Air and Breaking more Records
   
Easy and Effective ways to reduce your Carbon Footprint
   
Current Load Shedding Situation in South Africa
   
South Africa on Track to becoming Global Leader of Green Energy
   
Solar Impulse 2 Around-the-World Flight Update
   
A Guide to going Solar
   
Farming and Solar Power – Go Together like a Horse and Carriage
   
Solar Power FAQ
   
Considerations when Finding the Perfect Solar Installer
   
Soventix Solar Projects: Gauteng Grid-Tied Solution Taking Shape
   
Soventix Large Scale Solar Project Kicks Off in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal
   
V&A Waterfront set to implement huge solar power project
   
South Africa ranks in Top 10 globally for solar power
   
South Africa on track for more utility-scale solar power plants
   
Robben Island set to run on solar power
   
Kenyan mall switches on largest solar carport system in Africa
   
What happened to load shedding
   
Understanding electricity consumption
   
Solar power advantages
   
How solar technology is improving informal settlements
   
Home solar options
   
Green Festivals – How Rocking the Daisies plays hard while treading lightly
   
Eskom turns to solar power to beat load shedding
   
Cutting fuel costs with innovative solar powered motorbikes
   
Why use solar power for home security?
   
Why do I need solar power?
   
Solar solutions for businesses
   
Installing solar on my roof
   
How to start my solar project
   
How much can I save with solar?
   
Commercial solar system project completed at ACA Threads, Cape Town
   
Large scale outdoor PV system completed at Quiver Tree Apartments, Stellenbosch
   
South Africa’s power crisis driving mines to renewable energy
   
New lithium battery technology could change solar power industry
   
How to finance your solar power systems
   
Comparing solar systems and generators
   
Understanding solar power language
   
Solar Impulse completes its historic solar energy flight to Hawaii
   
How to calculate the solar system size for your needs
   
Beating load shedding with photovoltaic solar systems
   
5 Solar tips for farmers to beat load shedding
   
5 Solar power tips to get through load shedding with ease
   
Solar cell breakthrough brightens the future of solar energy
   
How to beat load shedding. Solar power vs. Diesel Generators
   
Solar panels investigated. Which will suit your needs?
   
How farmers save money through solar energy
   
5 Clever ways agriculture can use solar power
   
Comparing solar power systems for your home
   
The Ecocapsule, a revolution in green design
   
Polycristalline vs. Thin Film Solar Panels
   
Everything you need to know when upgrading your solar power system
   
South Africa’s Solar Power Farms
   
Seamless Solar – Solar Panels that add to the beauty of your home
   
Solar powered cars – are they the future of motoring?
   
Solar power, battery – vs no battery backup system
   
Is solar energy expensive energy?
   
Load Shedding – How does it affect agriculture?
   
Ten easy steps for creating a green home
   
5 Things you didn’t know about solar cookers
   
Green power from the sea – harnessing wave energy
   
Selling electricity to Eskom. Can it be done?
   
Load Shedding – Is There An End In Sight?
   
Five Simple Ways to Reduce Your Electricity Bill at Home
   
Eskom’s Rebate Scheme for Small-Scale Renewable Energy – Is it for You?
   
Three Ways To Get Your Business Off The Power Grid
   
The Latest In Solar Power Technology For Your Home
   
Five ways farmers can reduce their carbon footprint
   
Why is solar power becoming more affordable?
   
Seven Facts About Owning A Solar Power System
   
Vrede en Lust leads the charge in the Cape’s solar-powered wine farms
   
Carbon Neutral Homes: Can they Exist?
   
Five easy steps for creating a green office
   
Solar Power and Agriculture
   
Different Sources of Renewable Energy
   
Solar Power and its Global Effects
   
Discover The Benefits of Household Solar Panels
   
Yingli Solar Panels
   
Solar PV Diesel Hybrid Solutions
   
Small-Scale Renewable Embedded Generation
   
Beat the Darkness of Load Shedding With Solar Backup Power!
   
Net Metering in the Cape Town Domestic Market