When you live in a remote village of off-grid location then bringing clean water and electricity can have a big difference on the quality of life you can enjoy. The problem is that brining in water lines and power lines being delivered from a central location can be costly; much more than supplying the area with an water filtration system and electricity generation of its own. Now an Italian start up is offering a modular solution that can do this, and it costs just $15, 000.
Supplying solar energy that IS clean, at a rate of16 kilowatt-hours per day and 24,000 litres of drinking water, sterilised and filtered, the OffGridBox container is ideal for remote locations and can provide sufficient supplies for a population of around 300 people.
Within the six-foot cube is a LiFePO battery bank(5.5 kWh), an inverter, a solar array(4 kW), a 1500 litre storage system as well as a water collector. The cube also contains a filtration system, which produces up to a huge 1000 litres per hour using filters and UV sterilization.
Created to use as rural electrification systems, disaster relief, off the grid lifestyles or even as backups for properties that are grid-tied, the company claim the units can be maintained and installed with basic tools by workers that have not been specifically trained to do so.
As a modular system, it is possible to increase the capacity easily with the addition of further units on top of the initial installation. Larger solar arrays, bigger battery bans, Wi-Fi capability, a drip irrigation module, a desalination unit, remote monitoring, a wind turbine, a “PAYG” battery swap option and an integral heating pump are amongst the additional option that can be added.
OffGridBox has reportedly installed around 28 units to date, and a Rwandan pilot project should see another 18 units being installed. Building the business up has, however, proved to be something of a challenge. However, having been selected for inclusion in 2017’s Boston Mass Challenge acceleration scheme, the company could see an improvement in this area with a shift in their business plan seeing them moving away from selling units to NGO’s and instead supplying them directly to those that will use them.