Pic credit: World Panel
Vodacom signs deal with World Panel as Sub-Saharan Africa distributor. Pic credit: World Panel

On Tuesday, US-based solar technology company, World Panel, announced that they have entered into a retail agreement with African mobile communications company, Vodacom, to sell its newly developed solar-powered charging device.

Vodacom: Solar innovation

This solar device is targeted at mobile users living in rural areas, who have limited or no electricity access.

The solar innovation, which requires no chipsets or PC boards, connects directly to mobile phones, powering the telecommunication device through a clean and reliable energy source.

The solar device, dubbed SunStream, has the ability to charge mobile phones at or near the same speed as a wall plug.

According to the US company, these clean power products have been designed to meet international standards using industrial grade materials, allowing them to withstand harsh conditions and can even charge while submerged in water.

Definite demand

World Panel CEO, John Anderson, said: “I originally visited Africa with a solar prototype for household purposes and was consistently asked by residents whether it could charge their phones.

I’ve returned with a product that is essential for anyone who owns a mobile phone but who has limited access to dependable energy sources.”

Speaking at the product launch on Tuesday, Suraya Hamdulay, Executive Head for Vodacom Sustainability said: “This is a game changer for many because mobile phone users from every walk of life can now benefit from reliable and portable access to renewable electricity.”

According to the solar device manufacturer, it is the first technology in the world that combines USB charging standards with international solar panel standards. In addition, the product is water resistant up to two meters.

They company explained: “It is made with a shatterproof glass face and a polymer case which is UV stable and remains cool to the touch in extreme heat.”

They added that the cost of a charging unit retails at ZAR199 ($14).