In our Western, developped countries, going green is often associated with green washing and brand marketing. In other places in the world, it is however a real development enabler. In some places, it is even necessary for any kind of business to just start, because energy is otherwise not accessible, or not affordable.
I have seen quite a few stories like this in the last months and will give you the links to those which marked me most. But I want here to illustrate this idea with just this German company, which took off a year ago and opened its first subsidiary in Ethiopia in March.
SolarKiosk is designing and commercializing small energy-autonomous business units. Simply said, the solar kiosks are small cubic stores, with solar panels on top and essentially build locally (except for the kiosk’s structure and specific electric components).
Placed on strategic places, they become a new exchange center for the area, be it on the trade level, or the social level. The kiosk creates a new crossroads for buying first necessities and medicine, recharging your mobile phone, exchanging news, ideas, concerns, and solutions with the shopkeeper and distant neighbours coming at the same time, etc.
In isolated, off-grids areas, leveraging the local energy sources like the sun, the wind, water streams and falls, etc. is the sine qua non condition for any entrepreneurship. This reality is further away from us than the CSR section on every company’s website, but it’s a more wide-spread, more structural, and more fundamental one. And even from our home, we can act on this, just as the founders of SolarKiosk decided to do.
About other projects using renewable energies to instigate economic development :
- An article in French about Vietnam being aware of its potential as a renewable energies producer.
- A post I wrote on my first blog “Un voyage de Serendip” about a transnational initiative enabling local entrepreneurs in Peru to use renewable energy sources to further develop their business.