PHOTO GALLERY: Building solar businesses in Kenya

Earlier this year RTCC met Mark Kragh as he was about to head out to Kenya to complete a very ambitious task, building 100 solar powered phone chargers.

The aim of the project was to give one village the power not only to use mobile phones, but to develop the local economy.

In essence the panels are just a series of small PV cells soldered together, and connected to a USB stick, ready for a phone.

With mobile phone ownership in Africa soaring, from 16 million in 1999 to around 376 million today and continuing to rise, they have the power to bring improvements in human rights, according to Amnesty International, and a boom in small enterprises, according to the UN.

The sun provides the perfect alternative source of energy for Kenya’s phones. A 2007 World Bank report stated the country’s solar resources are equivalent to 70 million tons of oil.

Back in the UK, RTCC caught up with Kragh to find out how the project went, what he had learnt from his time in Africa and where the project would go next.

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