Powerhive is a start-up from California that designs and deploys electrical micro-networks in East Africa, based on an innovative pay-as-you-go cost structure. With an agile and efficient economic model, Powerhive has sparked the inter-est of Total, which aims to expand access to energy with its Better Energy initiative.
Around 1.5 billion people in the world have little or no access to electricity. This map published by the World Bank very clearly shows that the most underserved areas by far are situated in Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia.
Of course, there are some electrification projects already in the works in these territories, run by local authorities. But they'll take decades. Meanwhile, each year, there are 10 million more Africans looking for access to energy. There is a strong likelihood that Africa will be able to 'skip over' the phase of large-scale electrical infrastructure projects and opt directly for a distributed energy system, produced and consumed locally, much in the same way that it passed directly to mobile telephony without developing landline infrastructure.