(ITWebAfica)– Kenya-based solar-powered cold storage units’ provider for smallholder farmers and traders in Sub-Saharan Africa, SolarFreeze has been awarded a three-month programme worth approximately US$50,000 in acceleration services and cash.
The company was named Africa’s best innovative energy access startup by global power company Enel Group, through its new division Enel X, in partnership with Swiss-based entrepreneur platform Seedstars World SA, at an event in Nairobi this week hosted by Renewable Energy Solutions for Africa (RES4Africa).
Riccardo Amoroso, Head of Innovation and Product Lab at Enel X says the firm is glad to support a company promoting development in rural villages through innovative electrification solutions.
“During the selection process for the Africa Energy Prize, we have identified a number of start-ups bringing unique energy projects to the Continent.”
Enel’s collaboration with Seedstars began formally in July 2017 when the two signed a cooperation agreement. The companies say they engaged small-scale entrepreneurs who are providing innovative energy solutions focused on electric mobility, storage, distributed generation, and energy efficiency.
Amoroso adds, “These new business models, which couple socio-economic growth with the development of commercial and productive activities, are truly key to making Africa’s future greener and more sustainable.”
According to SolarFreeze, 45% of food in developing countries spoils mainly due to lack of cold storage.
“In much of the developing world, postharvest losses are as high as 80% and the cold‐storage chain is virtually non‐existent due to the high cost of equipment and spotty electricity.”
Alisee de Tonnac, CEO at Seedstars says almost 600 million people lack access to electricity in Africa. “Solving energy issues through entrepreneurship and technology is, therefore, a critical agenda point at Seedstars where we aim to find real solutions to real problems.”
Seedstars says only seven sub-Saharan African countries (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Namibia, Senegal and South Africa) have electricity access rates exceeding 50%, “the rest of the region has an average grid access rate of just 20%.”
The company adds that the use of modern renewables is growing in Africa, and fostering this growth is imperative as African countries are in a unique position: “they have the potential to leapfrog the traditional centralised-utility model for energy provision.”