UK startup company MeshPower is developing a microgrid product for off-grid communities and is now more than a year into field trials in Rwanda.
Each MeshGrid can connect up to 50 households to a centralised solar generation and distribution hub, providing customers with pay-as-you-go lighting, mobile phone charging and other essential energy services. These services are price-competitive with kerosene, diesel and stand-alone solar, yet have no lock-in, the company says.
Currently operating 10 systems in Rwanda which supply energy to 155 domestic and commercial customers on a daily basis, the projects are located in Rwanda’s southern and eastern provinces, close to the border with Burundi where grid connectivity is extremely limited.
MeshGrids are connected to the internet so customer usage can be monitored, as can potential or emerging faults, which can then be flagged and reported early to local teams.
MeshPower is the result of collaboration between Climate-KIC UK, several alumni of Imperial College's student non-profit organisation e.quinox, as well as former Google early employee and angel investor Gerald Aigner.