Hello and a happy February to everyone!
A quick update during an exciting week for STG - our previous Energy Access Fellow, Jordan Stephens, is landing in India this weekend to complete the installation of the pilot system you all watched get built and shipped there (through my email updates last year). Jordan will be in Pune for the next 8 days working with our partners at ATE to install the Lesotho-made PTC solar system at their validation site, where they will be benchmarking it against other commercial products and considering it for a line of new products for the Indian market. We're very excited Jordan was willing to re-join the team to oversee this important task, and we'll have photos for you of this trip in the next report.
In Lesotho we're steadily making progress on the Ha Makebe pilot microgrid. In the photo you'll see our team doing the site layout to mark the positions of the poles for the distribution wiring, and the poles were delivered this week! Slowly but surely the project is taking shape, and we'll be looking forward to flipping the 'on' switch hopefully in late April / early May - and we will be taking lots of photos so you can be right there with us to see this happen.
The last update is an interesting one for the future potential of funding minigrids across Africa. We were introduced to a young new group called the Sun Exchange, who have a unique model they would like to promote for raising capital to build minigrids (enough money that it is expensive for one person, but too little money to be attractive to most investors). They want to allow "micro-investors" to contribute to the space, for example each person buys one PV panel and earns revenue on selling the power generated by that panel; collectively together a group of individuals (coordinated by the Sun Exchange) can buy enough PV panels to power a whole minigrid. We're intrigued and partnering with them on a test of this business model to raise money for one of our communities in Lesotho. The project goes live online in March, and we are looking forward to lots of interest in this new model!
As always, thank you for your continued interest and for following our endeavors and progress along the way. I am personally grateful for the opportunity to see these projects come to life and enjoy sharing them with all of our supporters.
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