The Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund has announced Solaris Offgrid’s successful development of OpenPAYGO Link.
Since receiving funding from UK aid through the Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund in 2019, the UK-based technology company has designed a free and secure, open-source technology designed to improve compatibility between solar home systems sold on a pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) basis and a wider range of off-grid appliances. The innovation will enhance access to modern energy services for off-grid consumers around the world by enabling them to build custom energy solutions to meet their needs and budget.
The Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund supported Solaris Offgrid in developing OpenPAYGO Link having identified a lack of interoperability between many appliances and solar home systems’ PAYGo hardware, an issue that resulted in limited consumer choice and high research and development expenses for manufacturers and distributors.
Solar home systems are often sold on a pay-as-you-go basis to low-income customers without access to electricity. Solar home systems are often sold as bundles that include solar panels, batteries, lighting, and other appliances such as televisions. Many of these appliances only work when used with the solar home systems they are sold with, meaning consumers are locked into using products from one manufacturer. It also means that appliance manufacturers are required to customise their devices to communicate with each solar home system's PAYGo hardware.
Solaris Offgrid estimates that manufacturers who adopt the technology will benefit from savings approximately between US$60,000 in R&D costs and a further US$0.80 per product in manufacturing costs.
Benjamin David, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, Solaris Offgrid, said “The grant from the Efficiency for Access Research and Fund was critical in helping Solaris Offgrid develop OpenPAYGO link. This open source product offers manufacturers an inexpensive, robust, and easily adoptable technology, which will help their PAYGO system and appliances to communicate with each other. We believe that this innovation will ultimately help end-users in low to middle income countries access a greater range of products and services without compromising on affordability”.
The project is gaining attention and traction across the industry, with Solaris Offgrid’s partners, Fosera, planning to use the OpenPAYGO technology within over 10,000 refrigerators. 20 companies are also in discussion with Solaris Offgrid around the project, while large-scale manufacturers, including Mobisol, Fenix International, and Azuri Technologies have downloaded OpenPAYGO Link.
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