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Azuri using AI for solar home systems in Africa

Africa , 01 Aug 2016

Azuri using AI for solar home systems in Africa

While solar home systems are typically adversely affected by cloudy daytime conditions, which creates unreliable power after sunset, the AI-powered power management system developed by Azuri automatically learns a customer's typical power usage pattern and adjusts the light brightness to meet their expected demands.

The HomeSmart system - which works in a similar way to the way a NEST smart thermostat does for domestic central heating - offers greater energy efficiency and customer control, and has already been purchased 5,000 times. The latest deployments have been in Kenya and Ghana.

The product has LED lights, lithium iron phosphate batteries, adaptive smart metering and artificial intelligence, and has been developed by Azuri - which operates in 12 African countries - which lower income consumers in mind at US$50.

CEO Simon Bransfield-Garth told ITWeb Africa the HomeSmart technology enables Azuri to offer more value with less.

"By carefully matching product to market requirement, and tailoring the length of the payback period region by region, Azuri is able to price the top-up as much as 50 per cent lower than the customer's previous spend on kerosene and mobile phone charging. In effect, the switch to solar power is better than free to the end user," he said.

Azuri customers typically pay around US$3 per week over the course of 18 months, after which time the cost of the solar home system is paid off and the customer fully owns the system.

"This model allows users to progressively expand their solar power systems while paying only for the energy they use," Bransfield-Garth said.

The HomeSmart technology will be of particular benefit to customers in some West African countries, where the rainy season can impact the available sunlight. It aims to add a new level of enhancement to solar provision, and prevent a situation whereby users are beholden to weather conditions to meet their required power usage.

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