ACT & Tundra team up to bring solar energy to rural Zululand

Tundra Force, the Ballito-based solar energy company, announced today that 130 eKhalite units have been shipped to the African Conservation Trust (ACT).

ACT, a KZN-based non-profit, are deploying these units to communities within the Mandlakazi Traditional Authority of northern KwaZulu-Natal. These communities are deeply rural and their dispersed nature has made it exceptionally difficult for the Nongoma Municipality to connect them to the grid.

In Nongoma, approximately 49% of rural households are electrified. For Africa as a whole, only 20% of homes have access to electricity and the growth in population continues to outpace the rate at which new connections are being made to national or municipal electricity grids.

Under typical KZN weather conditions, each of these eKhalite units will power three to four LED lights, as well as a cell phone charger. These are powered by a 30 watt solar panel and stored in a 12 amp hour lead crystal battery. This means that families can run their lights for up to 12 hours and the battery itself should last for up to six years before it needs to be replaced.

With some 600 million people across Africa still without access to electricity, solar offers the fastest, cleanest access to lighting and cell phone charging.

It therefore enables children to study after dark and small businesses to extend their trading hours. This has an immediate and measurable impact on the socio-economic status of rural communities.

About ACT

Established in 2000 as a volunteer organisation, the African Conservation Trust has grown to become an established non-governmental organization that is actively involved in conserving southern Africa’s biodiversity and natural and cultural heritage.

ACT’s installation of the solar kits will include basic training to a few community members to promote long term sustainability. ACT mentors will also provide assistance in the development of homestead food gardens and water saving techniques when installing the systems. A small refund to the households will ensure all expired batteries are returned and safely recycled.

Funding for the project was provided by Finnish organisations, Siemenpuu Foundation and EKOenergy, a non-profit eco-label for renewable energy who raises money for climate projects worldwide.

Nomfundo Phewa, project coordinator for the African Conservation Trust, pictured next to some of the eKhalite units at the Tundra Force warehouse.

About Tundra Force
The eKhaya lite range of solar energy products are designed and produced in the company’s factory in Shaka’s Head, Ballito, KZN.

Constructed of steel, with more than 80% local content, the unit is easy to install (no special skills required) and able to withstand Africa’s tough conditions.

The eKhalite unit can be expanded to power a number of accessories such as TVs, radios, sewing machines, hair clippers, printers / copiers and insect repellents. It therefore offers a number of health, educational and socio economic advantages

Now stocked by Build-IT, these KZN units have been exported to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi.

Quote from Carl Grossmann, Chairman of ACT, “We selected the Tundra Force product because of its ease of use, rugged construction and value for money characteristics.”

For more information on the project, you can visit the ACT website: http://projectafrica.com/zululand-community-solar-project/ or email info@projectafrica.com.

For more information on Tundra Energy/Force you can visit www.tundraenergy.co.za

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