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South Africa: Innovators design solar power schoolbag

Solar power schoolbags provide light for learners. Pic credit: CNN
Solar power schoolbags provide light for learners. Pic credit: CNN

In South Africa, two young entrepreneurs from a town just outside of Johannesburg have designed a solar power schoolbag for school goers who live in communities with no access to power, or who are regularly affected by the country’s frequent power outages.

Solar power schoolbag

The solar powered school bags are manufactured from recycled plastic  and have a built in solar panel in the flap. The solar panel is charged as the children walk to and from school, euronews reported.

The process involves taking clear and colourful plastic sheets that are cleaned and processed to make them flexible enough to convert into bags. In addition, the bag is stitched with pieces of reflective material to make them visible when walking in the dark.


Euronews reported that nine-year-old Kamogelo is one of many school children who feel the impact of frequent power outages.

The young school goer uses his solar power schoolbag to complete all of his homework:  “It helps me a lot when there is no electricity because I take the lamp and use that for lighting in order to read and do my homework.”

Kamogelo unscrews the charged solar panel from his bag and connects it to a solar jar, which has the capacity to last up to 12-hours.

Solar power schoolbag innovator Rea Ngwane commented:  “They’re happy to have a school bag. I remember with the first handover one of the kids cried and I was like ‘This is a bit emotional.’

“The parents are coming and saying ‘My child is able to do work’ and teachers are coming in saying ‘Homework is now being done.’ So I think we are affecting all spheres of a child’s life if I can put it that way.”

Expanding the product

The company plans to expand its product offering to meet the growing demand and plan to launch a premier brand in order to subsidise the original solar power schoolbags.

Euronews added that the two innovators want to expand to other countries across the continent where access to electricity in marginalised communities remains a problem.

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.


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