By Mwende Nguti
Blackouts do not necessarily equate to a dead phone; not anymore.
Nokia this week announced the availability of a new portable solar charger in Kenya aimed specifically at the eighty percent of Kenyans without regular access to electricity.
According to Nokia, Kenya and Nigeria provide the perfect opportunity for testing this solution, with recent World Bank reports indicating that only 16% and 51% of Kenyans and Nigerians respectively had regular access to electricity between 2007 and 2011. However, mobile phone usage is pervasive in these markets, calling for alternative methods of power.
The Nokia Portable Solar Charger, DC-40, which will be retailing at KE 1250/-, is being marketed by Nokia to test the viability of solar charging as an alternative mobile phone charging system in Africa. The charger will be available in limited quantities during the pilot period.
The technical solution is a thin panel, measuring 165mm x 237mm with a long cable and a 2mm Nokia plug interface. Weighing at only 93 grams, the solar charger is highly portable and with one minute of charging, consumers will be able to get approximately two minutes of talk time.
The solar charger is most efficient when used in direct sunlight where the average charging time for full charge on a 1000mAh battery would be under four hours. However, the solar panel can also be used behind a glass window, but is less efficient in these conditions.
â€œThere are numerous advantages to this solution, including being able to service consumers outside of regular electricity supply, or those who need a quick charge on the go,â€ says Bruce Howe, General Manager for Nokia east Africa. â€œHowever, perhaps the greatest benefit is the cost saving achieved by being able to harness the natural resource of the sun.â€
The DC-40 solar charger will be available in Kenya at selected Nokia Premium Partner outlets across the country.
â€œNokia prides itself on its ongoing sustainability programs to minimize power usage. This solar charger provides an extremely environmentally friendly solution that is free of CO2 emissions,â€ adds Howe.