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Could this be the answer to Eskom’s failures?

20 July 2020 7:00 PM
Tags:
Wits University
Wits University in Johannesburg
Wits Originators
Wits Impacts For Good
Raees Dangor

Meet the man shining a renewable light at the end of the loadshedding tunnel.

As humanity is faced with increasing global emergencies, now more than ever, we must all contribute to solutions: for good, and for the good of all people. In the Wits Impacts For Good podcast series, Eusebius McKaiser engages in conversation with Wits Originators, forward-thinking researchers from Wits University, interrogating problems and seeking robust and impactful solutions, backed by leading research.

Meet Raees Dangor — the Wits student whose affordable renewable energy system is set to address South Africa’s crippling load shedding crisis and, radically change the lives of villagers affected by energy poverty.

Many South Africans are navigating this global pandemic in the dark as Eskom’s failures to keep the lights continues to perpetuate the prevalence of energy poverty in some of the most vulnerable communities in the country.

As the world faces the dirty facts about the carbon emissions associated with fossil fuels, finding investors willing to fund coal-fired power plants has become increasingly difficult – forcing South Africa to think creatively about how we procure energy.

While the Energy Ministry ponders on what it would take to solve (one of) the South Africa’s most pressing problems, Raees Dangor is shining light at the end of what has started to feel like an endless tunnel.

Fossil fuel is on the way out… We need to look at sustainable solutions and that means that we have to then look at renewable energy.

Raees Dangor, Researcher — University of the Witwatersrand

Are the dark days behind us?

Raees Dangor forms part of a team of Wits engineers who have spent four years developing an affordable off-grid renewable energy generation system that could potentially power entire villages and mitigate and, then eventually eradicate the continent’s energy poverty crisis, for good.

The Personal Consumer grid innovation (PeCo Power) is a user-friendly, off-grid solution that easily integrates renewable energy sources along with batteries and appliances, for the electrification of households in rural Africa that still do not have access to electricity.

The power system is optimised by solar panels and can be cheaply expanded with additional external batteries to store power in the absence of sunlight without the need for an electrician. Its rugged design allows the system to operate in the harsh African conditions and takes care of itself. Basic starter kits will be charged at an estimated R3,500 each.

The PeCo Power System is a local solution to Africa’s energy problems that are grounded in research and focused on social development.

We need to find solutions for our own problems… We need solutions from Africa for Africa.

Raees Dangor, Researcher — University of the Witwatersrand

Commercialisation

The Wits University School of Electrical and Information Engineering's patented pilot project has moved towards full commercialisation and will be brought to market within the year to provide energy freedom to rural households and informal settlements, with the promise of deep social impact.


20 July 2020 7:00 PM
Tags:
Wits University
Wits University in Johannesburg
Wits Originators
Wits Impacts For Good
Raees Dangor

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