In Nigeria, an estimated 92 million people lack access to electricity, leading to frequent power outages that cost the country $28 billion annually. To combat this problem, many Nigerians rely on generators, which are noisy, expensive and contribute to air pollution. Businessman Olugbenga Olubanjo has offered an alternative solution through his company Reeddi. Reeddi offers solar-powered batteries called “Reeddi Capsules” that can power appliances like TVs, laptops, and refrigerators.
Olubanjo, who grew up in Nigeria and witnessed first-hand increased productivity as a result of access to electricity while studying in Canada, felt compelled to address the issue of energy inequality in his home country. Reeddi pods can be purchased with a solar panel or rented for a day from local stores, and can be charged using Reeddi solar panels. A single battery can power a TV for about five hours or run a 15-watt fan for 15 hours.
While battery rental is more expensive than using mains electricity, it is usually cheaper than using a generator. Joel Jewel, a trader in Ogun State, uses the Reeddi capsule to charge his laptop and phone, highlighting its convenience during power outages. The batteries are currently only available in Nigeria, where more than 1,600 people use them. However, organizations in countries such as Uganda, Ghana and South Africa have expressed interest.
Other companies, such as UK-based Mobile Power, are also offering battery packs as an alternative to generators in Nigeria and other African countries. Anita Otobo of Sustainable Energy for All recognizes the contribution of companies like REDDY in reducing the energy access deficit in Nigeria. However, he suggests that for Reeddi to expand its business, battery rentals must become more affordable or provide greater capacity to provide better value to customers.
Despite the challenge of meeting demand, Olubanjo is optimistic about Rede’s ability to create a brighter future for Nigerians and Africans through sustainable energy solutions.
Sources: CNN, International Energy Agency.
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