Africa: Power Roll – Bringing Cheap Solar Power to Africa and India


London — Supported by Innovate UK, Power Roll is developing, testing, and implementing lightweight, low-cost, flexible solar mini grid systems in India and Africa.

Power Roll has installed two mini solar grid systems in rural locations in Africa and India. These grids demonstrate the use of their innovative solar film and energy storage technologies that have the potential to disrupt the global solar power market.

Paul Laidler, project lead at Power Roll, explained:

“The mini solar grid systems use flexible solar PV that is thin, light, easy to install and can be used off-grid. This makes it very attractive to communities who might struggle to get access to technology, particularly if their location is remote.

“Power Roll’s solar film will be produced as a roll and can be used on a variety of surfaces in off-grid settings; for example, curved around a technology pole or attached to a fragile roof. Its lightness and versatility give it numerous advantages over silicon solar panels not only where it can be deployed, but also in ease of transport.”

The technology can be applied in a number of ways in off-grid settings, including lighting, charging laptops and mobile phones and pumping water for irrigation purposes.

Laidler said:

“We want to make solar energy affordable and available to everyone – and that means having a low-cost solution that works in off-grid locations where people have previously found it difficult to access power.”

At scale, Power Roll’s solar technology will generate electricity at a cost which is at least 40% cheaper than silicon PV, and it weighs as little as 2% of current silicon PV products, which is a distinct advantage.