Buffalo Grid recharges off-grid phones using solar power, bikes and text messages
phone. But the average worker in the area takes home under $1 a day. The interesting thing is how the power is released. A text message, which in Uganda costs 110 shillings, is sent to the device. Once the LED light glows above a socket, it means that it is ready to recharge a phone. Each text message allows the phone to be charged for 1.5 hours. Each battery has ten charging points and can charge 30 to 50 phones in a day.
Buffalo Grid sees room to bring the price down more if it can get the carriers in the area to pay for some of the power. For the mobile operators, it could be a positive move. "When you bring power to phones that don't have any, people will use them more," says Buffalo Grid's Daniel Becerra. "Instead of paying for the charge, people will spend more on airtime."
The bottom line is that Buffalo Grid not only brings cheap power for cellphone owners in regions where power is expensive or non-existent, it also brings jobs to an area where they are badly needed.
source: BuffaloGrid, NewScience via Textually.org