BP Solarex aimed to address environmental and human issues by harnessing the limitless power of the sun and provide for last mile electrification where economic and geographic factors made conventional power supply nonviable. This project was to be unveiled in rural Africa which had sun through out the year and a geographic and economic situation which deprived many rural communities of affordable electric supply. BP Solarex came up with a scheme akin to prepaid mobile connections for providing electricity to these areas. A battery would sit in the enclosure drawing current from the photo voltaic panels and dispensing it through a charge controller. This controller would have records of money stored in it and would stop dispensing the moment charge ran to zero.
Africa presented a host of problems for this product . These ranged from availability of the same type of battery to flooding, gas formation and even the innocuous one of people sitting on or stacking things upon the product. Through extensive research, BP and Bang* identified five types batteries that were coomnly available in Africa and suitable for the purpose. This helped us set the envelope to design the product. Bang* created a compartment on the top surface to hold the controller thus isolating it from the hydrogen emitted by the batteries, a potential fire hazard. The controller housing was made of PC, a robust material, but appearing visually as fragile to the rural folk discouraging them from stacking/sitting on the product. Drain plugs to the bottom allowed for effortless disposal of any leaked acid whilst a simple padlock kept the battery secure.