Africa Mena‎ > ‎

FENIX Solar mobile Charger is Creating Electricity Entrepreneurs in Africa

posted Jul 12, 2012, 5:01 AM by Solar Life   [ updated Jul 12, 2012, 5:05 AM ]

Portable Solar-Powered Charger is Creating Electricity Entrepreneurs in Africa

Sales channel MTN mobile telecom
selling the ReadySet plug-and-play battery through MTN (Africa’s largest mobile telecom) directly to consumers, who earn money by charging the community money to use the device.

Each device, which holds enough power to recharge a device seven to eight times, comes with a price tag of $150–not exactly cheap in the African market. But Fenix says that entrepreneurs can make back their investment in as little as three months by charging fees to the community. “If you can have [a product] make you income, people are far more interested in investing in it,” says Mike Lin, CEO of Fenix International. And, he adds, the ReadySet is durable. It won’t fall apart like so many cheap options. “When it comes to things like a solar panel or energy system, you need to invest in the quality of the components,” he explains.

This week, Fenix launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000–money that will go towards bringing more ReadySets over to the African market. The campaign is also a chance for Fenix to gauge interest in its product in the U.S., where it could be used in camping, emergency preparedness, and other off-grid situations. For $199, the first 100 backers get the ReadySet, which will eventually retail in the U.S. for $300 (retailers in the U.S. take higher margins, so Fenix is pricing the device higher).

The product is built on an open platform–a design choice that Fenix hopes will expand the number of applications for the ReadySet. “The iPhone, the Android phone are useful because of the apps they can run. Instead of software apps, ReadySet is made more useful by all the cool things you can plug into it like maybe the next really cool water purifier. 


Charging 8 phones / day
made $40 / month