Solaris Offgrid has received an R&D Grant from Efficiency for Access, with funding from UK Aid to work on a standardized ecosystem that facilitates the integration of Paygo devices with a wider range of appliances.
The firm has also joined the Low-Energy Inclusive Appliances (LEIA) Programme Technical Working Groups (TWGs) for Interoperability.
Funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), and coordinated jointly by the Energy Saving Trust and CLASP, the research and innovation programme LEIA aims at providing the off-grid industry with innovative technologies that have the potential to unlock life-changing energy services for the world’s poorest people.
In a statement, Chris Beland from the Efficiency for Access co-secretariat said: ‘’We are delighted to award funding to Solaris OffGrid to develop an open source communication protocol as part of our research and development fund as part of the Efficiency for Access Research and Development first call.”
Interoperability is expected to lead to a market with diverse, affordable and highly efficient appliances. Through its flagship product PaygOps, Solaris Offgrid works with customers and partners to tackle last-mile challenges and has already developed a Paygo activation protocol for its SaaS solution PaygOps, to meet distributors’ diverse needs.
Two years ago, the UK and Tanzania-based pay-as-you-go solar energy solutions provider raised over €1M for R&D and expansion. This open-source communication protocol is one of the projects.
The open-source communication protocol will facilitate the integration of Paygo devices with a wider range of appliances using an open Paygo code and/or radio activation protocol to automatically activate and deactivate Paygo devices, verify electrical compatibility to prevent damages of the appliances and standardize data reporting.
“Establishing interoperability standards is critically important for the off-grid energy industry. Solar Home Systems play a vital role in achieving universal energy access for the 1.1 billion people in the world still lacking affordable and safe access to electricity.” says Siten Mandalia, Co-founder and CEO at Solaris Offgrid.
While the Paygo solar industry is expanding fast, the need is now on efficient and flexible technologies, to improve end-user accessibility. The open-source communication protocol will provide the industry with a greater choice of products in a more competitive market. In addition, it will allow to better address distribution challenges, analysing the data available on usage or performance from the appliances, via a software platform such as PaygOps
Solaris Offgrid will deliver final milestones of the protocol by April 2020to ensure that clients can connect appliances from manufacturer X to an SHS from manufacturer Y, while making sure their Paygo appliance can be unlocked and avoiding damage to the appliance due to electrical incompatibility.