South Africa has well publicized, chronic power shortages and outages. It is a prime candidate for distributed power generation solutions such as roof top solar and micro grids. Surprisingly, despite an emerging middle class, current initiatives seem to be struggling. Lack of trust, lack of data, and lack of a solution tailored to local conditions are the primary obstacles we identified and are addressing. The financial and CO2 reduction opportunities are huge, with a market size over $1,6 Bn in South Africa’s upper middle class segment alone. Further opportunities exist with residential households and in energy insecure emerging markets with sizable middle class customer bases, like Mexico, Nigeria, Indonesia, etc. Using technology and data we will help South Africans gain access to alternative energy sources and provide a great customer service experience through our one-stop-shop solution. Our solution will help: 1) Recommend the best energy mix for customer homes based on their needs from our sizing tool (Mix of solar & storage, grid energy, and other sources); 2) provide a seamless and transparent procurement and installation experience; and 3) provide insights for energy security (e.g. direct grid alerts during weather threats, energy efficiency (insights from energy monitor), and behavioral change (e.g. load shifts to solar-rich times).
Zweli Mfundisi (MBA, GSB), Thebe Tsatsimpe (Harvard) and Prof. Stefan Reichelstein (PI, GSB)