Collaborating to Address the Energy Poverty Crisis
Globally there are over 1 billion people without electricity. The majority are sparse populations of poor households in rural regions of Sub-Saharan Africa.
There is thus an essential need for an innovative alternative to utility grid electrification for reaching the unreachable.
PeCo Power - Providing Energy Freedom
The PeCo Power grid is an expandable in-house electrification grid. It enables the connection of a range of renewable energy sources. From solar panels and wind turbines to batteries, as well as plugging in devices such as cell-phones and lights.
Additional components can be added to the system in an uncomplicated manner to expand the system’s power capabilities as the demand increases. This gives the user the energy freedom to grow and personalise their system at their own rate according to their power demand and financial capability.
It requires no technical expertise for installation, operation, and maintenance since the system is “plug and play”. The system is designed to be affordable for low-income households, robust to survive demanding African settings, and can be configured for a number of different applications, thereby changing lives and impacting communities.
Vice Chancellors Innovation Award 2020
In 2019, after 5 years of research and development, Prof Cronje and his team of engineering students built and validated the Personal Consumer or “PeCo” grid. The PeCo grid surpassed all expectations and received the Vice Chancellors Innovation Award in 2020 for the innovation: “A renewable energy personal consumer grid for off-grid electrification”.
The innovation behind the Peco Grid was patented and caught the eye of energy venture capitalist Umbono Capital. Through the combined efforts of Prof Cronje, his team of engineering students, Wits Enterprise and Umbono Capital, PeCo Power was founded as an endeavour to commercialise the grid technology.