This organisation has been helping small and medium-sized enterprises go green through solar-diesel hybrid systems that require no upfront investment, giving them access to clean, renewable energy and helping them save some money in the process.
According to data from the World Bank, as of 2012 only 15.3 per cent of Tanzania's, and 18 per cent of Rwanda's population have access to electricity. In equatorial Africa as a whole, some 85 per cent of the population are estimated to be off-grid (see video below). But help is at hand to stabilise electricity access for off-grid communities, using renewable energy, and without the need for them to invest a penny upfront for it.
This is the promise of OneShore, a German company that plans, implements and maintains solar-diesel hybrid systems designed with off-grid, weak-grid, or island communities in mind. By integrating existing diesel generators with solar power technology, the company seeks to facilitate the transition to solar power in places where, due to resources or other constraints, 100 per cent solar may not be an option. Customers continue to use a technology they are familiar with, while also getting the benefits of renewable energy.
Through a special software, the company is able to collect and analyse customer data before designing the best system to meet their needs. Energy data mining and analysis continues throughout to ensure maximum efficiency.
Their goal in setting up these systems is not necessarily to aim for the maximum energy output possible, but to ensure that the electricity generated meets local demands, and does so reliably and consistently, thereby tackling the challenge of stability of supply, which the company often finds to be an issue when combining diesel generators with renewables. In their solar-diesel hybrid system, generators however are only used as a back-up in case of bad weather or unusually high demand, with solar being the main source of power.
In such a system, the use of diesel generators is made more efficient, and according to their website, a solar-diesel hybrid system can decrease overall run-time and costs of diesel generators by 40 per cent, giving customers immediate electricity costs savings.
And because OneShore are both developers and investors, they enable customers to tap into solar power without the need for any upfront investment; rather, they simply pay for the electricity that they use. This model offers customers not just access to a reliable clean energy source, but it doesn't tie them into long-term investments which they may not be able to afford, and is of course great for any organisation, community or business lacking access to finance.
The company is also responsible for maintenance throughout the systems' life, therefore guaranteeing a system that is always in top condition.
OneShore customers include diverse organisations, such as a printing business seeking more cost effective power generation, a hospital seeking security and stability of supply, and a plantation seeking to reduce its electricity costs to be able to irrigate more. All shared a dependence on polluting and expensive diesel generators as their source of energy, and all decided to go green and save themselves some bucks in the process.
Watch OneShore Co-Founder and Managing Director Philipp Kunze pitching the company at the Ecosummit Berlin in 2015, and hear more about their customers too: