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5 Promising Renewable Energy Startups in Africa

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A woman uses a solar lamp provided by M-Kopa.
A woman illuminates a solar lamp provided by M-Kopa.

Even though Africa has the potential to generate tons of renewable energy, two out of three people living in an African country do not have access to electricity.

This number will start dropping soon, though. During the first quarter of 2015, Africa was noted by Bloomberg as a top renewable energy leader. Below are five fascinating startup companies helping to power Africa:

1. M-Kopa Solar

This company provides customers with solar lamps that can also recharge their mobile phone or radio. M-Kopa‘s customers find the service affordable and easy to use. They also find it easy to pay for, since M-Kopa was started by the same team that pioneered M-Pesa, a Kenyan mobile money system that is widely admired.

2. Quaint Global Energy Solutions

Based in Nigeria, Quaint Global is working to develop 50 megawatts of renewable energy to bring electricity to Kaduna State. They are currently working with American company Tetra Tech to figure out the best way to implement the project.

3. Freedom Won

Electric vehicles are the focus of this startup, whose first cars were electric Jeep Grand Cherokees used to drive tourists on safaris. Since then, they have developed an energy storage system to enhance lithium-ion batteries. Called FreedomCOR, the design is similar to the Tesla Powerwall.

4. African Clean Energy

For some people, the simple act of making a meal can be hazardous. Cooking using dirty fuels or even open pit fires cause accidents that kill four million people every year. Concerned by this statistic, African Clean Energy created a stovetop that can run off any biomass, use 70% less energy, and reduce costs by 50%. The ACE 1 Ultra-Clean Biomass Cookstove also burns cleanly, and can be used indoors.

5. iCoal Concept Ltd.

Innovative recycling is the name of this Kenyan company’s game, and it’s safe to say they’re winning right now. iCoal Concept Ltd. converts charcoal collected from the community into briquettes that can  be used to power homes. The recycled briquettes are 35% cheaper than regular coal. Since Kenyans need 700 tons of charcoal every day to meet everyone’s needs, the company’s work will go a long way to improving both quality of life and energy efficiency for the continent.

Image (c) Georgina Goodwin/M-Kopa

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