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According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), 860 million people around the world in developing and developed countries do not have access to electricity.
A UK-based company is tackling energy poverty head-on using off-grid solar technology. Bboxx’s off-grid solar energy monitoring technology is poised to disrupt the entire energy industry – and it is putting the people who need energy the most at the heart of its business.
What is Energy Poverty?
Energy poverty refers to the situation of people whose well-being is negatively impacted as a result of their inability to access or consume energy. It is caused in part by a lack of access to modern energy services, although this is not the entire picture.
Energy has been referred to as the “golden thread” of development. With a reliable and affordable energy supply, people and nations can develop modern infrastructure, such as information technology, gain significant efficiencies in industry and the wider economy, and save considerable time. This has a highly positive impact on individual and social well-being.
What Causes Energy Poverty?
Multiple factors can cause a lack of access to electricity. One of these is the difficulty of managing the supply of energy to remote and rural locations. This is where Bboxx’s off-grid solar energy monitoring technology – Bboxx Pulse – comes in to help tackle the energy poverty problem.
Other factors of energy poverty include high energy tariffs, lack of infrastructure, reliance on polluting and inefficient fuels such as biomass, and the need to spend excessive amounts of time collecting fuel to meet daily needs.
Tackling energy poverty can help to unlock the social and economic potential of half the population of communities experiencing energy poverty.
Bboxx Tomorrow's Rural Home, Rwanda
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Energy Poverty Around the World
The number of people in energy poverty has been steadily declining in recent years. In 2016, almost 1.1 billion people did not have access to electricity. In just two years, this figure dropped by 22% to 860 million.
However, this improvement is not evenly spread around the world, with 640 million out of 800 million (80%) gaining access to electricity since 2010 being located in Asia. Work needs to be done, especially in the continent of Africa, and specifically in sub-Saharan African countries.
How Off-Grid Solar Technology Can Reduce Energy Poverty
Solar energy is becoming increasingly efficient and cheap, and is a large part of the solution to energy poverty. It can be installed when no infrastructure or grid is possible, such as in rural areas, and it does not require customers to find or purchase fuel.
However, difficulties in providing access to solar energy, such as upfront costs and remote areas, are blocking the full potential of this clean technology.
The Importance of Off-Grid Solar Energy Monitoring Technology
Bboxx’s off-grid solar energy monitoring technology helps utilities to deliver energy products, including off-grid solar technology, in places where they are needed most. The company has ongoing projects in Africa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), DRC Kinshasa, Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Tongo, and in Pakistan in Asia.
Bboxx recognized a common challenge among utilities in developing countries: managing energy supply at scale for customers who were dispersed across multiple remote and often rural locations.
Their solution is Bboxx Pulse, an off-grid solar energy monitoring technology that is shaking up the energy industry to deliver affordable and accessible energy to more people in the countries listed above.
How Can Bboxx Pulse Help Tackle Energy Poverty?
Bboxx Pulse is a “do-it-all” platform enabling utilities to manage last-mile distribution, scaling and product lifecycle, business efficiency, remote work, and various complex business processes.
Pulse includes real-time mapping, which enables utilities to monitor and control products distributed around the world. This is supported by smart devices throughout a distributed energy network, and is a feature of the global Internet-of-Things (IoT).
Bboxx has also included long-term pay-as-you-go (PAYG) financing plans in the Pulse platform to enable end customers who are lacking financial resources to get the energy supply that they need, and only pay for what they use.
The platform also helps utilities to install solar home systems with a remote workforce, often in rural areas. This makes it quicker and more efficient to provide households with reliable energy access.
Find out more about solar panels for several applications
With remote recording of essential data points in globally distributed solar networks – current in/out, connectivity, battery performance and connectivity – Bboxx Pulse allows utilities to ensure maximum possible efficiency in their networks. This results in less energy being wasted, and ultimately keeps prices as low as possible for end-users.
Bboxx’s Impact on the Energy Industry
By focussing on off-grid solar energy monitoring technology, Bboxx is showing the energy industry how smart, connected, IoT solutions can significantly reduce costs for energy providers and – ultimately – end-users.
Through the Learn-Develop-Adapt process, the company’s focus on innovation ensures that they will continue to seek new ground in energy distribution, and that their efforts to tackle energy poverty with off-grid solar technology will continue to have a positive impact around the world.
Read more: African Clean Energy's Off-Grid Solar Power Technology
References and Further Reading
Bboxx (2020) Technology. [Online] Bboxx. Available at: https://www.bboxx.com/technology (Accessed on 14 July 2020).
IEA (2017) Energy Access Outlook 2017. [Online] IEA. Available at: https://www.iea.org/reports/energy-access-outlook-2017 (Accessed on 14 July 2020).
IEA (2019) SDG7: Data and Projections. [Online] IEA. Available at: https://www.iea.org/reports/sdg7-data-and-projections (Accessed on 14 July 2020).