Updated May 04, 2020

Bas Berends

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OffGridBox is a modular and compact unit that provides affordable renewable energy & treated water in off-the-grid areas. It can provide energy & clean water to (rural) clinics, so medicines & vaccines can be refrigerated, important in COVID19 times

The most important aspect of the innovation is the fact that the OffGridBox meets two basic needs with one integrated unit: lack of electricity and lack of clean water. For a modest down payment, our clients receive a power bank, 3 LED lights, a phone charging set and a 5 liter jerrycan. They come to the box, which is located next to the water source that people already use, whenever they need ...
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The most important aspect of the innovation is the fact that the OffGridBox meets two basic needs with one integrated unit: lack of electricity and lack of clean water. For a modest down payment, our clients receive a power bank, 3 LED lights, a phone charging set and a 5 liter jerrycan. They come to the box, which is located next to the water source that people already use, whenever they need to recharge their power bank and are in need of clean water, and they only pay $0.18 each time; this can be done through mobile money. Alternatively, delivery services (creating additional employment) are used to distribute the recharged battery packs and the purified water.
We train and employ 4 women managers per box, who do the daily distribution, and are in charge of maintenance. They receive a good salary and a bonus when they reach the targets set for recharging frequency.
Our box can also power WiFi hotspots, or even a small telecom tower, adding to connectivity in the villages.
We have a remote monitoring system and app, which we designed ourselves, and which can monitor customer and technical data, but it can also predict when maintenance issues will come up.
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Stage 4: Transition to Scale

We have installed 70 units in 12 countries so far. We're now deploying over 40 units in a Pay As You Go set up in Rwanda and Tanzania (with UNDP), which will provide clean water and renewable energy to up to 100,000 people.
Registered in United States as For-Profitin United States as For-Profit

Focus Areas:

Solar, Economic Empowerment, Water Supply/Quality and 2 MoreSEE ALL

Solar, Economic Empowerment, Water Supply/Quality, Humanitarian Assistance and HealthSEE LESS

Implemented In:

South Africa, Madagascar, Italy and 5 MoreSEE ALL

South Africa, Madagascar, Italy, Colombia, Philippines, Rwanda, Tanzania and United StatesSEE LESS

8
Countries Implemented In
5,000
Customers
40
Employees
$2,100,000
Funds Raised to Date

Problem

Off the grid communities lack clean water and energy. Being at the base of the pyramid, they are often not seen as interesting potential customers. So they spend a lot of money on dirty kerosene, candles and batteries, and they have to drink water that is polluted. The lack of energy and water also affects (agricultural) entrepreneurship. Without energy, there can be no high productivity and no preservation of produce; without water, there can be no irrigation.

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Solution

Our small, rugged and mobile unit uses solar energy to charge battery packs that people use to light their homes & charge their phones. Inside the box is a water purification system: our clients also receive 10 liters of purified water, for only $0.18 per recharge. We can reach 2000 people with one box. The OffGridBox is modular, so we can add a WiFi hotspot or a desalination unit. Also, we can provide power & clean water for (agricultural) productive use, like irrigation, ice making or milling.

Target Beneficiaries

We aim to provide our services to rural off the grid communities. Our clients benefit from getting access to clean and affordable Tier 1 energy to replace their current practice of kerosine, candles and batteries. Also, the purified water has immense positive effects on our clients' health. We especially focus on women empowerment. We train and employ 2 women managers per box, and we want to help female entrepreneurs. There is further spin off employment: security guards, delivery services.

Mission and Vision

We want to bring affordable clean water and renewable energy to anyone, anywhere. Our solution contributes to the achievement of at least 8 different SDGs, including SDG 6 (Clean Water) and SDG 7 (Renewable Energy).

Competitive Advantage

It is different from other approaches and provides a more effective solution in several ways. First, it uses solar energy to provide both clean water and power (instead of either/or), and therefore helps to meet two basic needs. Second, it is mobile, so it can quickly be brought in, and taken out again when there is no longer a need. Third, it is modular, so other services can be added, like a desalination unit, a WiFi hot spot or a micro grid, to also provide energy for produtive uses.
Our solution can be easily scaled up, because there is a business model behind it. The threshold for buying our services is low, so many rural households can afford the modest fee for clean water and energy. We are using impact investors to pre-finance the boxes and revenues will pay back the investment plus interest. Alternatively, the box is leased by NGOs or international agencies. Maintenance/management is always done by local business partners/NGOs.

Planned Goals and Milestones

We want to improve our model which includes a desalination unit, so we can increase the production of purified and desalinated water per box. We are also expanding the use of our Box for (agricultural) productive use. The OffGridBox can be quickly deployed to provide energy, clean water and connectivity to rural clinics, so medicines and vaccines can be refrigerated, and health personnel can use electronic equipment, have lights at night, and can use computers and communication. In these times of COVID-19, it is especially important that vulnerable communities stay healthy through safe water, and have access to upgraded health care, for which electricity is essential.
Funding Goal500,000
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted40,000
New Implemented CountriesPhilippines, Uganda
RecruitCIO/CTO
New FeatureWorking on a new app and central processing unit to improve remote monitoring

The Team Behind the Innovation

Emiliano Cecchini, CEO, 20 years experience building sustainable utility solutions Davide Bonsignore, CFO, 10 years experience designing & deploying off-grid renewable energy technology Jodie Wu, COO, 10 years experience in last mile distribution, especially energy Andrea Baldini, CTO, 12 years experience in renewable energy, energy saving & water treatment Bas Berends, Partnerships, 20 years experience in diplomacy and sustainable development

EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN

Milestone

Jun 2020
New Product Or Service
OffGridBox for (rural) clinics- COVID19
Nov 2019
New Country Implemented In
United States
Aug 2019
New Country Implemented In
Tanzania
Mar 2016
New Country Implemented In
Italy
Nov 2015
New Country Implemented In
Madagascar
Nov 2014
New Country Implemented In
South Africa