Electric Spokes is a wind turbine made from recycled materials that is so simple to assemble, it’s like IKEA furniture. It costs $40 because we pay for just the materials and compact shipping, which is much cheaper than off-grid solar costing hundreds of dollars. And anyone in the world can assemble it.
As rural populations develop, we need to ensure that they seek renewable electricity over diesel or other “dirty” sources.
We’re selling the turbines to off-grid customers through partner NGO networks. Under a microfinance payment model, customers can pay for as little as $2 a month. If they buy multiple batteries, they can sell electricity within their villages by renting out charged batteries to others in their community. Those people then bring the used batteries back to be recharged with the turbine, and swap it out for another charged battery. So it’s not just on a customer level, we’re creating village economies for renewable electricity. (Villagers in the Congo already do this on a much less sustainable level. They walk miles away to charge their mobile phones with diesel generators.)
We are planning two further revenue streams.
- Advertising – International corporations are eager to market to developing economies. New people with electricity = new demand for electric products. We are looking into interest from GE and Unilever.
- Data – We have sensors with GPS coordinates at the top of the turbines that collect and send back meteorological data, which we can then sell. The GPS asset trackers also alert us to any functionality issues, so we can send out replacement parts.
This IKEA, self-assembly model applies to other development tools beyond wind, but this is our initial concept. We can apply this to water pumps, hydro-power – cheap and sustainable by self-assembly design and 100% recycled materials.
Note: Initial beta location is Jamaica