Reliable access to electricity is a luxury in Lagos, Nigeria, where the power can go out multiple times a day, rendering many inhabitants dependent on expensive, noisy, and polluting diesel generators. A corner shop in the Nigerian city, however, offers a solution to this problem in the form of a rentable, portable battery that has been charged with solar power.
“Our goal is to make energy access as easy as buying milk,” says Olugbenga Olubanjo, CEO of Reeddi, the startup working to transform that goal into reality. Customers pay a small fee to rent a Reeddi battery for a day, which they can then use to plug in lights and fans or charge their mobile phones and laptops.
Because the batteries have a modular design, users can connect together multiple units in order to provide extra power when needed. They can then bring the battery back to the store once it runs out of power and pick up another one.
The service aims to provide easy access to solar power to those who can’t afford the upfront cost of installing solar panels, or to people who live in apartment buildings and don’t have access to the rooftop. Since they’re portable, it’s also possible to carry them between home and work.
As reported by Fast Company, the current business model involves the startup collecting the used batteries from the corner store and recharging them with solar power at a separate location, keeping a fresh stock at the shop. As part of its future model, however, the company will equip the roofs of the corner stores with solar panels, allowing customers to directly insert the batteries back in a solar-connected vending machine that will automatically charge them and dispense another.
The plan is to expand the model across Nigeria and beyond to other parts of Africa and Southeast Asia, where a considerable number of people still lack adequate access to electricity.
Image source: Reeddi