The SolarTurtle is a solar kiosk designed for maximum security and maximum portability. Housed in containers and assembled off site, The SolarTurtle can be deployed by simply offloading the container and unfolding its solar panels towards the sun. These community-owned solar kiosks sell electricity “by the bottle”. This means that a recycled plastic bottle is halved and battery inserted, the lid is then converted into a 12V cigarette lighter socket, allowing communities to build and maintain their own battery packs.
Micro-grid connections are offered additionally to power local schools and businesses. Delivered as turnkey plant by truck, this fold-away solar PV system provides basic electricity to 300 households and a local school, and is stored safely to prevent theft. While numerous solar power solutions available, the main benefit of this plug-n-play solution solution is its security features. All the necessary components, such as solar panels, batteries, charge controllers and consumer connections, can be locked away. This is imperative in crime-ridden areas.
The name SolarTurtle is derived from the fact that these solar kiosks feed just like a turtle: Panels are removed from the container and unfolded in the morning hours when they are safe from theftm and they can then “feed” from sunrays. They are then locked away in the hard shell of the container once it gets dark and crime rates rise.
In South Africa and many other parts of Africa, crime is a major limiting factor in providing electricity to schools and rural settlements. With most photovoltaic panels stolen within a year, these schools are left with few resources as they cannot afford further electricity sources. In 2015, the South African government began an ICT program to further digital education. The aim is to minimize paper in classrooms and provide tablets to learners instead of textbooks. In this case, electricity is imperative.
Furthering economic development, solar power offers women entrepreneurs an opportunity to become micro-unities and provide an essential community service.
Publicly available: Yes
Countries where available: South Africa
Price range: Over 200 USD
Offered or can be licensed for local manufacture: No