Monthly Archives: September 2015

Solsave My-Powa review: the little solar powerbank that can

Solsave My Powa

 

Powerbanks, portable chargers, or whatever you’re inclined to call them, are big business in South Africa nowadays. While the national electricity utility continuously fails to keep the lights on, companies have been sourcing ways for consumers to charge essential devices even when there’s no juice flowing from the socket.

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INCREASE IN DEMAND FOR PORTABLE (SOLAR) POWER ACROSS SOUTH AFRICA’S BUILDING AND RESIDENTIAL MARKET

“The way power, and portable (solar) power in particular, is consumed has changed,” says Paul Hubers, founder and director, Sungrid Group. “We are seeing an increase in demand, particularly across the building and residential estate market, where the use of diesel generators is either not allowed or simply no longer the preferred option due to environmental concerns.”

Whilst the use of diesel generators as an alternative supply was a common occurrence, this is no longer the case. In fact, many estates and office parks as well as camping and recreational sites no longer allow the use of diesel generators onsite. “Generators are both noisy and harmful to the environment,” says Hubers.

It is also not as simple as ‘plug-and-play’. When making use of your generator during power outages, in order to ensure no harm occurs when Eskom reconnects the power, one requires what is known as a bypass switch. “This needs to be installed by a qualified electrician, adding yet more costs to the average household.” Alternatively, the household items running off the generator can be ‘islanded’ (disconnected from the mainboard) via an extension cord. Whilst this would negate the need for a qualified electrician, the downside is that only smaller appliances are able to be connected, with no access to power for any heavier requirements.
Previously, solar power was the domain of costly and cumbersome installations, placing it out of range of many who could benefit. However, with recent and ongoing technical developments, the ability to harness the sun’s energy and make it easily available for all to use, via simple plug-and-play products, is shaping the way in which consumers are approaching the use of solar as an alternative and viable option.

“What’s also interesting to note,” continues Hubers, “is the change in market demand for the type of portable (solar) products. Developers, manufacturers and distributors of portable (solar) products, Sungrid Group has continued to expand its product range based on consumer demand. “Initially we offered products for light to medium power requirements. However, the last few months has seen a considerable expansion of Sungrid Group’s offering to include products capable of meeting both heavier and dual charging power requirements (the ability to charge the product both on- and off-grid).

The recently launched Ecobxx 1500 (EcoTank), capable of up to 350 hours of power, is a case in point. “In addition to providing enough power to support a small to medium sized business during times of load shedding or other interrupted power supply, we are seeing increasing demand for the EcoTank from residential and private homes, particularly in housing estates as an alternative to diesel generators,” continues Hubers.

The EcoTank is true ‘plug-and-play’ with no installation required. “Place the unit in the sun, or charge via the more conventional grid method, and your home becomes immune to load-shedding schedules,” continues Hubers. “The market response to this has been very encouraging, with many builders and architects now including items such as these as part of their overall offering to new home owners.”

DEMAND FOR ALTERNATIVE POWER AND LIGHTING SOLUTIONS ON THE INCREASE

“The need for alternative power and lighting solutions has never been as dire,” says Paul Hubers, founder and director, Sungrid Group. With South Africa in the midst of a vicious winter and the resulting increase in power requirements, Eskom’s continued inability to meet these needs has seen substantial increases in load shedding occurrences around the country. The effect on businesses and homes has been far reaching, lost revenue and domestic inconvenience to name but a few.

“We have seen a huge increase in the need for solutions capable of meeting heavier power requirements,” continues Hubers. However he goes on to add that today’s consumer is wanting easy plug-and-play options. “Gone are the days of heavy and cumbersome installations,” he says. “Consumers, across both business and domestic use, are looking for ease of use but as importantly, an alternative solution with both on- and off-grid capability.” What this in effect means is the ability to charge one’s alternative power and lighting device through the use of the sun’s energy (solar), but similarly also via the grid when the power is on. “Consumers are then able to simply switch on their solution once load shedding kicks in, enabling them to continue either business or domestic activities uninterrupted.”
In response to this market demand, Sungrid Group has launched the Ecoboxx 600. Suitable for heavier power requirements, the Ecoboxx 600 is proving itself as a more than viable alternative to today’s energy crisis.
“Our customers range from small businesses, such as restaurants and corner shops right through to residential homes,” continues Hubers. “In every instance, our range of portable (solar) products is enabling them to continue their activities uninterrupted.” Not only is this eliminating the sheer inconvenience brought on by load shedding, but in the case of business it is having a positive effect on the bottom line.

 

“The world is also becoming increasing environmentally conscious,” adds Hubers. Whereas before, diesel generators may have proven a likely option, today’s consumers lean strongly towards more sustainable and green products. “In fact, many estates and office parks as well as camping and recreational sites no longer allow the use of diesel generators onsite,” continues Hubers.
Complete with 600W portable solar power 12V and 220V, the Ecoboxx 600 is providing a viable, cost-effective and environmentally conscious solution for both office and home. Business use includes the powering of LED lights, tablets, laptops, routers and PABX systems; amongst other whilst affording the domestic and recreational market with the ability to power smartphones, TVs and decoders, DVD players, gaming consoles, fans and even sewing machines. “And for those who require a little less power, we will be launching the Ecoboxx 300 towards October this year,” concludes Hubers.