Solar energy in an app to power Africa

The French company “Sunna design”, based in Bordeaux, produces solar panels for public lighting in several countries around the world.

But its founder, the young engineer Thomas Samuel, has another goal: to expand this “social business”, to address directly consumers in developing countries, to give them – through solar energy – access to the world.

Samuel knows Africa well. In this vast continent, 600 million people do not yet have access to electricity. Yet 80% of the population has a mobile phone. Here is the challenge.

With a small solar panel, as big as an iPad, people can run three light bulbs and, most importantly, charge a cell phone that is sold with the rest of the kit. The project is called Moon, like the light of the moon. People pay a very small sum per month and after six months or one year, they become owners of their kit. Access to a smartphone changes their lives: communication with distant relatives, various applications to help them manage family accounts, malaria prevention, or learn a foreign language.

EURACTIV went to visit Moon’s facilities in the Ziguinchor countryside in Senegal, with the founder of Sunna Design.