Millions To Benefit From Low Cost Solar In Asia And Africa

Millions of impoverished people in some of the world’s poorest countries will soon have access to low-cost solar power after a deal was struck last week between solar provider ToughStuff and the Business Call to Action (BCtA) network. 
    
The deal will see up to 33 million people living in poverty in Africa and Asia supplied with low-cost solar panels and solar battery packs. 
     
The BCtA is a global initiative that encourages private sector and market-based solutions to help fight poverty, and is supported by several international organizations including the UN Development Programme and the Australian Agency for International Development.
  
With headquarters in Mauritius and offices across Africa, ToughStuff is hoping to capitalise on potential market for off-grid solar power in developing countries; nations with disrupted national grids, such as Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, South Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe in Africa and four Southeast Asian countries – Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal.
  
ToughStuff cites the United Nations’ "Sustainable Energy for All" report that states that more than 20 percent of the global population – 1.4 billion people – remain without access to electricity. The majority of these people depend on wood, charcoal, animal waste or kerosene for energy. 
  
The company will introduce a range of solar-powered products including solar lights, mobile phones and radios, directly to low-income communities including its "Business in a Box" model, which relies on a network of village-level entrepreneurs who are provided with training on how to sell, rent or provide access to affordable solar energy services and products.
  
ToughStuff says by substituting kerosene or biomass fuel with solar power, it could save the region a combined total of US$520 million in energy costs while reducing carbon emissions by up to 1.2 million tonnes by 2016. 
   
"To make this happen, and at the scale we intend, we are actively building commercial partnerships with large distributors, telecommunications companies, retailers and others with an interest in bringing energy, along with all of its benefits, to those who don’t yet have it," says ToughStuff CEO, Andrew Tanswell.