The ‘Light Up a Village Initiative’ was a huge success in West Africa. It was powered by Intelizon’s partner in the region, Comafrique. Intelizon’s flagship product in West Africa at the time, the Zonbulb, became a highly desired commodity for rural homes in Gambia and other countries in the region. Intelizon became a household name. Homes stayed lit at night increasing their productivity and giving kids more time to study. Overall, it affected the people’s lives in a big way and showed them the road to a better future. While the homes were well-lit, the street lights, on the other hand, were still prone to a multitude of issues. This meant that the streetlights routinely stopped serving their purpose.Another Problem to Solve for Intelizon
Almost all streetlights in West Africa were based on heavy lead-acid batteries and were connected to the grid. This was problematic because lead-acid batteries can be bulky and are always externally connected. This makes them vulnerable to theft, rusting and other flooding issues. Being connected to the grid was also unfortunate as they were constantly affected by power cuts, load shedding, grid failures etc. The streetlights were just not doing their job. People could not go out after a certain time every night and they could not carry out regular chores. They would have to wait until every the morning. This ideally should be a non-issue for anyone living in the 21st century.
Let There be Light
This time, Intelizon presented the perfect solution for the people of the region. Introducing the Zonstreet by Intelizon Energy. The Lithium Ion based battery pack was built into the lighting system eliminating the problem of theft completely. It is completely independent of the grid and immune to power cuts or grid failures of any sort. It is now possible to install the outdoor street lighting where they were previously not due to non-availability of the grid. The lighting solution stayed lit for about 10 to 12 hours every night and the run-time stayed relatively unaffected even during the wet season with extended periods of cloud cover. The revolutionary battery technology and efficient electronics in the system ensured that the power is highly optimized and the light never has to go off unceremoniously. Additionally, the Zonstreet requires minimal installation charges and almost no maintenance costs at all. It does not require the regular water topping and performs optimally even in high temperatures unlike the traditional lead-acid based street lights.
Intelizon created the perfect technology to address all these issues faced by African communities in one product. Harnessing the unlimited source of solar energy to light up their streets at night was a revolution in the lives of the rural folk. They can now continue doing regular things even at night under the safety of the Zonstreet. Outdoor solar in lighting in Africa was largely unheard of when Intelizon entered the market and aided many communities and countless families.
Making it Happen on Ground
Mr. Ram Mohan, MD of Comafrique, took the onus of installing Zonstreet lights in Africa. “In the villages, the residents found the lights so good that, they were fighting over them and that they are installed near their homes”, he said. This is when he realized that the “Zonstreet works”. Apart from villages, another 10 lights were installed in the car parking area of Management Development Institute in Gambia. Soon, Zonstreet became an ideal option for other establishments and purposes such as warehouse lighting, workstation lighting, private lighting etc. were working at night is routine and power-cuts were frequent.
Zonstreet is now being traded to other countries of Africa from Gambia setting the tone for Intelizon to establish itself as a well-known brand in Africa.