text message activated solar powered cellphone charging stations in uganda text message activated solar powered cellphone charging stations in uganda
mar 15, 2013

text message activated solar powered cellphone charging stations in uganda

as the absence of proper power grid infrastructure becomes more of a problem in rural areas in the developing areas of the world – in particular africa and asia, where cellphone usage continues to grow at a steady rate – an estimated 650 million cellphone users rely on off-the-grid charging to provide information such as water point mapping, or other mobile services that help improve banking, health and farming. with typical charging costing around 500 ugandan shillings, or about 0.20 dollars – the ability to maintain a full battery for those making less than a dollar a day can sometimes be difficult, or at times impossible.

buffalo customers in bungokho village, uganda
image courtesy buffalo grid (also main image)



in response to the growing dilemma, london-based buffalo grid have developed a text message activated solar-powered cellphone charging station to help cut electricity costs. the technology utilizes a 60-watt photo-voltaic panel, which charges a battery that is then taken to the village on the back of a bicycle. the portable micro generator extracts power from the harvested solar energy using a technique called maximum power point tracking (MPPT) – providing on-demand mobile electricity. the system is activated when a customer sends a text message to the device. once the message is received, an LED above a socket on the battery lights up, indicating that it is ready to charge a phone.

buffalo trial in uganda
image courtesy buffalo grid



on average, each text message allows a phone to be charged for 1.5 hours; where a fully charged ‘buffalo grid’ unit can last for three days, with up to 10 charging points and charge 30 to 50 phones per day. additionally, the system can also be used to provide off-grid power for a range of uses from medical to educational applications.

charging station in butsama, uganda
image courtesy buffalo grid

zelia puts the unit through its paces
image courtesy buffalo grid

the buffalo prototype is adjusted in tamale, ghana
image courtesy buffalo grid



h/t newscientist

  • Maybe these folks can come up with some ideas for rural Maryland where there local monopoly telco and cable companies do not provide either decent wire, cell or internet services. (125 mi, as the crow flys, from Wash DC – the self-thought capitol of the World)


    JimCan says:
  • Very good!

    Taburetmuebles says:

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