Photograph courtesy EGG-energy

Great Energy Challenge Innovator: EGG-Energy

Project: Distributing Electricity Services in Africa via a Portable Grid

Location: Pwani and Iringa Regions, Tanzania

Summary: In Tanzania, only 14 percent of the population has access to electricity. In rural areas, the figure dips under three percent. Electricity access would contribute to healthier and more productive lives and provide an opportunity to escape poverty. (See related blog post: "In Tanzania, Expanding Electricity Access One Battery at a Time.")

Low population densities, a dearth of locally available funds and limited local expertise are significant hurdles to bridging that power gap. In Tanzania, EGG-Energy identifies the weak link as last-mile distribution, or absence of services to so many that live within a short distance of current electricity access.

EGG-energy bridges this distribution gap between power generation and the end-customers by packaging electricity in a set of small, rechargeable and fully recyclable batteries that are rented out to customers for an annual membership fee. Each battery meets customers' needs for approximately 5 nights, saves them over 50% on yearly non-heat energy expenditures, and eliminates the need to use kerosene for lighting. EGG-energy also provides clients with basic appliances, and the installation of their home electric system.

Having refined the operational model by running two charging stations that are connected to the existing power grid, EGG-energy now aims to 1) expand its reach into rural communities through off-grid solar sites and 2) accelerate deployment of grid-based charging stations through a franchising scheme.

One solar off-grid pilot franchise is already operational. EGG-energy is developing six additional franchises (three on-grid and three solar off-grid charge and swap centers) to serve as a foundation for developing a comprehensive franchising model.

Goal: Enable affordable, safe and reliable electricity service to rural communities in East Africa through franchising

Project participants: EGG-Energy (Jamie Yang, CEO)

The Great Energy Challenge grant program, in collaboration with a distinguished group of scientists acting as the board of advisors, awards roughly a half-dozen grants per year. The goal of the grant program is to hasten the growth of promising, global energy solutions as a response to climate change, energy resource constraints and environmental limitations.

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