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‘Switch to Portable Solar Power’ – solving Africa’s pressing energy problems

Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn, with the WakaWaka product (left) and the EcoBoxx (right). Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn, with the WakaWaka product (left) and the EcoBoxx (right).

575 million people across Africa – 10 million in South Africa alone – are not connected to any form of electricity.  Compounded by Eskom’s recent load shedding which has placed enormous strain on business and communities alike, the need for a safe, sustainable, cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution to Africa’s pressing energy problem is critical.

‘Switch to Portable Solar Power’ comprises a full range of portable plug-and-play solar products capable of addressing any power requirement. Endorsed by local cricket heroes, Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn, ‘Switch to Portable Solar Power’ aims to improve the quality of life for all South Africans through the provision of low cost power solutions.

“With most areas in South Africa receiving an average of 2,500 hours of sunshine per year, the use of solar power is an obvious answer,” says Ryan Steytler, Co-founder, Co-owner and Director of New Product Development and Innovation at In2Brands.

By harnessing the sun’s energy and offering innovative, safe and effective portable power solutions, the very real opportunity exists to bring power to Africa and empower its people.The current portfolio of portable solar products includes In2Brand’s own locally designed and created “EcoBoxx”, and the Dutch “WakaWaka” for which In2Brands enjoy exclusive sales rights within Africa.  Both make use of the very latest in patented solar technology to supply electricity to those in need.

A solar generator providing plug-and-play portable power, EcoBoxx is powered by unique lead crystal battery technology making it highly durable with double the lifespan of conventional alternatives. With a range of more than 15 power Qubes (50W – 1500W), EcoBoxx caters to any and all power needs.  The availability of specially designed custom kits further ensures the right fit, re-inforcing its plug-and-play capability. 

  • Barber kit comes complete with clippers
  • Student kits with phone connections
  • Cooler kit with a fridge 
  • Cooking kit complete with microwave or food grill
  • TV kit with TV
  • Phone charging kit with a charger able to charge more than one phone at a time. 

EcoBoxx provides numerous benefits across lifestyle, recreational, business and industrial from the lighting up of rural communities, as a backup source of power for construction work or even the only source of power on remote film locations or during outdoor activities.

For those who require a smaller, yet equally effective solution, WakaWaka (‘Shine Bright’ in Swahili) offers a portable solar powered lamp and phone charger.  It provides in excess of 40 hours of safe, bright reading light from a single eight hour charge and has the ability to power any USB-enabled device or smartphone in less than two hours. WakaWaka increases safety and security whilst enhancing outdoor and lifestyle experiences. Inspired by rural South Africa during the 2010 Soccer World Cup, sales of WakaWaka as lifestyle accessories have generated more than R40m since its original European launch in 2012 whilst more than 500,000 people living in disaster zones have benefitted from free or low cost lamps.

Currently, the use of kerosene lamps remains the main source of alternative lighting for those not connected to the grid.  This is inefficient, dangerous and expensive, bringing with it enormous health and environmental hazards. The use of solar powered products, and in particular portable solar products, eliminates these dangers whilst saving money. It enables communication, facilitating entrepreneurship and thereby increasing income-generating capacity for families, whilst the improvement of study conditions results in better school grades.

The EcoBoxx and WakaWaka range of portable solar power products are reliable, durable, green, renewable and cost effective. Their plug-and-play capability enables anyone to harness the sun’s energy for when it is needed, anytime and anywhere. Access to local, sustainable energy is a fundamental human right - it empowers, it powers connectivity and it saves lives.  “As part of our ‘Switch to Portable Solar Power’ campaign, we are committed to ensuring that in addition to enhancing recreational activities and improving safety and security, our products empower communities where daily consumption of electricity is not a reality,” says Steytler.

To this end, In2Brands has established the ‘Light4Life’ Trust which will receive a percentage of all product sales. Under the guidance of The Community Chest of South Africa, in existence for 80+ years and currently supporting more than 520 social welfare and development organisations, In2Brands will provide portable solar power to the areas and communities in South Africa where it is needed most.

“Stable power is fundamental to business and to the survival of a country,” says Lorenzo Davids, CEO, The Community Chest of South Africa.  “It is the oxygen of an economy and without it entrepreneurship, and life as we know it, cannot survive or flourish.” 

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