16 August 2012 – Berlin based Solarkiosk GmbH has developed a solar powered vending stand and it has launched the inaugural units in Ethiopia, as part of the company’s pilot programme.
 
Solarkiosk says it is going where established businesses have not yet gone. Every kiosk is designed as a kit of parts, only to be assembled upon arrival at its target location. The packages are lightweight, do not require a container and are thus easily transportable to remote, off-road areas – in extreme cases, on the back of donkeys.

While certain parts of the kiosk (particularly the electrical components) will be manufactured centrally to ensure quality and durability, all others can be made of local materials such as bamboo, wood, adobe, stone, metal or even recycled goods. The kiosk will be assembled locally with local materials; it becomes accepted as a domestic product.

After assembly, despite its light weight, the kiosk is safe and secure, an essential quality in communities where even the smallest products are of comparably high value. The entire structure is firmly anchored in the ground. Special detailing of all joints and assembly points on the inside of the building shell makes tinkering with the kiosk from the outside difficult.

Solarkiosk says that this solar vending stand is aimed at the kind of places where people sometimes have to travel for days to charge their mobile phones. Solar panels on the stand’s roof produce electricity to provide enough power for solar lighting, mobile phone and car-battery charging, a computer and even a solar fridge.
 
The first stand went up on July 5th near Ethiopia’s Lake Langano.