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Engie Africa launched a pilot project earlier this month to provide purified water, power and Wi-Fi to off-grid communities in Kigali, Rwanda. The project is being developed through a partnership between Engie Energy Access and OffGridBox, a water and solar company founded in 2016 with offices in Rwanda and the United States. The project ultimately aims to supply 18% of households in Kigali that do not currently have access to power. The project includes backup systems for lighting and phone charging.
OffGridBox provides a container cube with 2 metre dimensions which has solar panels on top and a water purification system inside and can operate as a Wi-Fi hotspot. The container is designed for easy transport and has a set up time of about 4 hours. Households are provided with a 40Wh battery pack, three LED lights, a phone charger and a jerry can. Customers are then charged a fee to recharge the batteries and for the supply of 10l water. Power can also be supplied for larger productive uses.
Currently, OffGridBox has installed around 80 containers in 13 different countries around the world, including Rwanda, Madagascar, South Africa, Somalia, Nigeria, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A pilot project with mining communities in DRC is also under way. The initiative employs and trains local women to run the box using the OffGridBox mobile application.
Engie Energy Access is a pay-as-you-go and mini-grid solutions provider established through the integration of Engie Mobisol, Fenix International and Engie PowerCorner. So far, the company has installed 3.3MW of power in Rwanda, with around half of customers being small businesses, and employs 325 people in the country. Engie Energy Access also operates in Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, and Mozambique.
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