Call for speakers: Africa Power Workshop on Productive Power, 3 July 2017

Call for speakers: Africa Power Workshop on Productive Power, 3 July 2017

Africa Power Workshop on Productive Power

The economics of PAYG solar home systems (SHS’s) are relatively well known and these small systems can be used in a business environment to provide lighting for shops; work-places and indeed to charge small hand appliances such as cell phone charging businesses and barbers’ electric clippers. However, the economics of renting larger business systems comprising high efficiency end-use equipment and the solar power to operate them is less well understood, limiting the extent to which micro-enterprises can access micro-finance to improve the size and profitability of their businesses.

By re-evaluating the core need for power services, new Africanised business models and equipment can be developed which transform the economics, allowing access to modern equipment, enhancing profits creating jobs, and helping to lift local communities out of poverty. For example, many dairy farmers waste significant quantities of milk when it “goes off”, but refrigeration is seen to be too expensive. However, one does not need to chill milk to 3°C to extend its life. Chilling to say 15-20°C may make it last a few days, enough to sell all their produce locally. This significantly reduces the size and power requirements for such a fridge, potentially making previously un-viable projects viable. Phase change materials can be used to store “coolth” (opposite of heat) created during sunlight hours and use it to chill the evening milking, rather than storing power in batteries.

Africa Power has teamed up with Southampton University to undertake a feasibility study on the productive use of power in Africa, funded by Innovate UK. We are holding a workshop at Southampton University on 3rd July to study the viability of Productive Power Uses in Africa.

The workshop will consist of two parts:

  1. In the morning, case studies will be presented on the productive use of power in Africa (and/or other developing countries) whether in a commercial or “developmentally funded” setting, and concentrating on the economics for the end-user entrepreneur. We are especially interested in projects which, whilst improving local lives, were not thought to be economically self-sustaining without further or on-going financial support as well as learning what “solar powered” businesses are commercially viable in their own right.
  2. In the afternoon, we want workshop attendees to work together to select, from the myriad of possible businesses, a few worthy of further in-depth study and analysis. Africa Power and Southampton will research these opportunities further to come up with new technology, business models or ways of operation to turn subsidised use of power into commercially sustainable productive use of power. Attendees will be invited to help support these working groups either with data or field knowledge, and hence representing the end-user community, or actively participating in studies, design, sourcing and testing activities, eventually leading to field trials.

A follow-up conference will be held in the spring of 2018 to report the results and to seek a further round of opportunities to investigate.

Please e-mail if you would like to participate in the workshop and whether you have a 10-20 minute case study to present. Case studies presenting partially completed work or where further improvements are needed to reach a commercially viable power system are especially welcomed.

Feel free to share this with collaborators, colleagues and friends who may be interested in attending in their own right.

Best Regards,



Dr. Alastair K Livesey

Managing Director

Africa Power Ltd.

Tel.    +44 (0) 1403 864702

Mob.   +44 (0) 7401 910251


Skype: alastair.livesey (from Shermanbury)


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