1. Describe the problem We are trying to solve.
The Challenge Alignment
In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), over 600 million people live without access to grid provided electrical power. Most of these people are dependant on the use of noxious kerosene, significant health and safety hazards, to light their homes. It is increasingly recognized that energy has a vital role to play in contributing to other SDGs, with former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon describing energy as the ‘golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity and environmental sustainability.’ AESP Green Energy, Canada has designed, developed and deployed the i-Kabin, www.i-kabin.com, specifically for SSA to remove the use of kerosene and provide a clean, affordable and efficient source of light and power for homes. Replacing the use of kerosene and other hydrocarbon burning fuels, Greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters that is currently provided government subsidies, in many SSA countries, this situation only encourages its usage in many unsafe ways such as adulating kerosene with diesel or petroleum. In many SSA countries, energy access reaches less than one percent of the population in rural areas. The i-Kabin is an Internet-of-things (IoT) solar-powered battery-recharging kiosk that is analogous to a "Solar-well," where rural residents take a portable Li-ion battery (aka the i-Pack) to the i-Kabin approximately on a weekly interval to recharge your i-Pack for a small fee using e-money or mobile money transactions. This procedure rids rural residents the need to use kerosene for lanterns and candles. The i-packs provided with two LED lights allows for two rooms to be lit with a clean, efficient, and affordable source of light and power. The capacity of the i-pack battery provides for two rooms to be lighten for 3 to 4 hours per night for approximately one-week. The i-pack equipped with a USB port, this allows the charging of small consumer electronics such as mobile phone, torches, radios, fans and even TVs.
2. Why does Our idea support sustainable development goal #7?
The Potential for SDG Impacts
Each renewable energy i-Kabin kiosk supports 500 households/families and positively impacts the lives of over one-thousand people. The i-Kabin and its "Ikea-like" flatpack is set-up with four hours, by semi-skilled labour. That same evening 500 families are provided with a clean and renewable source of energy to light their homes and deliver power to smaller consumer electronic goods such as fans, radios, and TVs. In some corners of rural SSA countries, only one percent of its residents have access to electrical power! The i-Kabin eliminates the need to use GHG emitting kerosene and provides for much cleaner indoor air quality. This elimination of kerosene and its harmful, "black carbon" emitting carcinogen, produced by burning lantern wicks, positively impact the health, particularly of mothers and their girls. The elimination of kerosene merely saves lives. Especially as Black carbon causes, human morbidity, and premature mortality. i-Kabin eliminates more than 12 cubic meters of kerosene per year and stops the release of 30 tonnes of GHG carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere. Not only does the i-Kabin impact on SDG #7 but also about half of the other 17 UN 2030 SDGs. To start with, all i-Kabin Operators/Attendants are ALL women; with an AESP GE commitment for Gender Equality and female empowerment (SDG #5). As one part of the Attendants' remuneration, AESP GE supports her female children school fees (SDG # 4 &5). This event provides all i-Kabin Attendants with the opportunity to become sole owners of her i-Kabin. AESP GE works with local commercial banks to offer the opportunity for the female Attendant a bank loan. The removal of kerosene usage improves indoor air quality benefiting SDG # 3. The i-Kabin has the benefit of spin-off employment opportunities. The i-Kabin community placement employs at least eight good jobs (SDG # 1 and 8).
3. Describe your product/service and explain why it is innovative.
The Innovative Approach
The i-Kabin a 4000 watts IoT connected solar-powered battery-recharging kiosk, analogous to a "solar-well." Rural residents bring a portable 15 amp-hours (12V) Lithium-Ion battery, aka the i-Pack for a weekly rechargeable. The i-Kabin kiosk can accommodate 500 i-pack recharges per week. The i-Kabin is a cashless device and uses agnostic mobile-money transactions as a method of e-commerce exchange, PAYG. The i-Pack battery has enough energy capacity to light up two rooms for three to fours hours per night for about one week. The following 2-minute YouTube carton explains the concept of operations:
With The i-Kabin's dimensions of 3m x 3 m x 2.5 metres, it offers many other business opportunities. Primarily acting as General Store; having a lighting and power source, it provides more extended hours of operations.
The i-Kabin requires internet connectivity; however, it has been designed to operate on parsimonious data-rates. In many SSA rural locations, internet connectivity is absence. AESP has made a Satcom enable connectivity options available for locations with no internet access nor the likelihood of it being made possible by the Telcos.
Why is the i-kabin Service innovative?
(a) it deploys in four hours and services 500 families with clean, affordable and efficient light and power that same evening.
(b) families can obtain an i-Pack (15 amp-hour 12 V battery) for as little as $20 and pay the remainder over 12 months
(c) i-kabin provide at least eight entrepreneurial employment opportunities
(d) Gender equality and women empowerment, ALL i-kabins are intended to be operated by women and Franchisee i-Kabin owners
(e) i-Kabin attendants are offered an opportunity to buy the i-Kabin for local commercial banks
(f) AESP GE pays for Attendants female children schooling
(g) i-kabin offers numerous profitable revenue generations, such as convenience shop, PAYG WiFi Cafe
4. Please describe the current status of your prototype and indicate any intellectual property.
The Innovative Approach
Since January 2015, AESP Green Energy has conducted a proof-of-concept test and trial program of seven pre-productions i-Kabins in five off-grid villages in Côte d'Ivoire. This i-kabin deployment impacted 500 families or approximately 2500 Ivoriens. The trial's aim was to verify our business model and better understand the environmental and technological limitations of the i-Kabin for feedback into later commercial versions of the i-Kabin. This YouTube shows the deployment of the i-Kabin in Ivory Coast.
5. Who are your markets and who are your clients?
Scalability and Feasibility
Collaborating with national governments and international financial institutions such as World Bank/IFC, AfDB, and Development Finance Institutions to "pool" funding sources would rapidly impact SSA “energy deficit." For example, a thousand i-Kabin deployment project installed in-country within six months, impacting 250,000 households or more than one-million rural residents. The initial investment of $25 million would accomplish this goal. Further, all the i-Kabin attendants would have the opportunity to buy the i-Kabin through a Bank loan after 12-months operation with a significant down payment achieved from income earned from i-pack recharges. After 12 months, all the i-kabin and i-packs cost would be repaid, and the process is repeated directly impacting another one million people. After five years, five thousand i-Kabin are deployed affecting 1.25 million homes and over six million people plus creating at least 50,000 jobs for youth. This i-Kabin model could be repeated in every SS African country.
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