Shared Solar: Prepaid Electricity via Mobile Telephony
SharedSolar, a project of the Modi Research Group at the School of Engineering and Earth Institute, Columbia University is investigating the viability of low-cost, incremental power infrastructure providing affordable, grid-like electric services by combining renewable energy with smart metering and storage management to provide reliable and verifiable services to off-grid communities in remote and rural areas. The system uses a micro-grid network powered by Solar Panels to connect power to consumers, and each household uses a unique prepaid metering system. The SharedSolar team is testing and developing its business model to show that a case exists for micro-grids and mobile energy payment. The team launched an initial pilot in 2010 in Pelengana, Mali and currently has systems set up in Uganda and Tanzania and constantly scoping for new geographic regions where SharedSolar could be a viable resource and technology. For more information, please visit the SharedSolar website.