Photograph courtesy Qorax Energy

Great Energy Challenge Innovator: Qorax Energy

Project: Illuminating post-conflict Somaliland

Location: Hargeisa, Somaliland

Summary: The poorest part of the developing world lives in Sub Saharan Africa. There are 600 million individuals here that lack access to electricity. They light their homes using kerosene lamps, which provide little illumination, require expensive fuel every month, generate dangerous indoor air pollutants and cause fires.

This enormous cohort illustrates the scope of the problem, but the reality is that there is little focus on the millions of people who will never receive solutions because they live in areas that are dismissed as too risky or remote.

One hundred sixty million individuals live in African post-conflict countries, the most disregarded demographic in the effort to increase modern energy access. Similar to more peaceful countries, a large number of Somalis are young extremely poor and located in rural areas. Qorax Energy was founded to bring affordable clean lighting to these areas, first and foremost in the world's most famous failed state.

Qorax is based in Somaliland; the autonomous but diplomatically unrecognized country in northwestern Somalia, where the electrification rate is less than 10 percent and grid tariffs of $1 per kilowatt hour are the highest in the world. Interestingly, more than 25 percent of the population uses mobile phones to pay bills -- also the highest rate in the world.

Qorax enables access to high-quality solar lanterns and home systems for low-income families using repayment plans with the ZAAD mobile money platform. This reduces the upfront financing burden, creates household savings and reduces emissions.

Goal: To enable local ownership of distributed solar energy assets in post-conflict states

Project Participants: Nigel Alexander Carr, C. Nicolas Derosiers, and Abdishakur Mohamoud Ahmed, co-founders

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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