Empowering communities, one turtle at a time

SolarTurtle container

SolarTurtle container

SolarTurtle, a social entrepreneurship initiative that aims to uplift rural communities by providing secure and sustainable solar solutions, is tackling poverty with renewed vigour after winning R10,000 at the Inventors Garage at the 2017 SABC Education SA Innovation Summit.

By winning the Inventors Garage, SolarTurtle is recognised for its originality, financial viability, and innovative approach to solving the short supply of electricity in rural communities. SolarTurtle converts shipping containers into solar stations that can power up to 400 homes in low-income communities. SolarTurtle are aiming to reach 100 rural villages by 2024, which would reach approximately 720,000 people and save 7,000 tons of CO2.

The SolarTurtle container charges solar batteries of various sizes that can be used on site to charge phones or other electronic devices. The batteries can also be unplugged and taken home to power LED lights and other devices. During the evenings, when the risk of vandalism and theft is higher, the solar panels fold away for safekeeping, just as the SolarTurtle’s namesake would hide in its shell for self-preservation. SolarTurtle is continually innovating, with the latest model’s panels folding away automatically with the touch of a button. Each SolarTurtle is an entrepreneurship opportunity for franchisees who can sell the electricity and use the container to power a spazashop, ICT lab, office or even a bank branch.

“SolarTurtle is driven by the goal to give the power of tomorrow to those who are powerless today,” enthuses James van der Walt, CEO of SolarTurtle. “We will be deploying our next generation solar container in at a community centre in Philippi, Cape Town later this year.”

For more information about SolarTurtle, visit http://www.solarturtle.co.za/. For more information on the SABC Education Innovation Summit and the Inventors Garage, keep an eye on www.innovationsummit.co.za or follow them on Twitter (@InnovSummit) or Facebook (@SAInnovation).

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