Off-grid applications company Eight19 has launched its IndiGo system, a pay-as-you-go, personal solar electricity system that allows users to illuminate homes and charge mobile phones using a scratchcard system. The system consists of a low-cost solar panel, a battery unit with inbuilt mobile phone charger and a high efficiency light emitting diode (LED) lamp. The device is credited using a low-cost scratchcard that can be validated by phone.

Although solar lights, phone chargers and other commercial applications have been available in developing countries for some time, the initial cost is often prohibitive for uptake by many users. The low purchase cost of the 2.5W IndiGo system means that the system will reach a wider catchment area for less than their current spend on kerosene.

“We are very encouraged by this new way of delivering energy to off-grid applications in emerging markets”, said Simon Bransfield-Garth, CEO of Eight19. “Indigo enables a new generation of solar power products that are affordable, providing customers with access, often for the first time, to clean low cost energy that eliminates the health risks and carbon emissions of kerosene.”

Eight19 is currently conducting customer trials in Kenya, with plans to extend these tests to Zambia, Malawi and the Indian sub-continent in the coming three months. Commercial roll-out of IndiGo will commence in 2012.