How innovations in technology are delivering impact in emerging markets

Acelern batteries with BBOXX branding

Two recent additions to the SF portfolio are using innovative technology and business models to deliver increased and improved access to energy in Africa, including into some new and challenging markets.

SF is supporting BBOXX and Aceleron as part of our strategic partnerships with the UK Government and USAID, which aim to create and scale pioneering energy solutions that serve low-income consumers and small businesses in Africa.

BBOXX: Taking PAYGO into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

SF and USAID partnered with BBOXX in August 2017 to pilot BBOXX’s off grid solution in the city of Goma, on the eastern border of the DRC.

Over the past six months, BBOXX worked with two local partners, Altech and GoShop, to establish a successful pay-go solar utility in Goma. BBOXX is working to improve access to energy: either first time access or improved reliability. They are also working to make it more affordable to households by offering pay-as-you-go credit.

The DRC is one of the most challenging frontier markets to work in, with no or poor access to energy. If the pilot is successful and becomes a sustainable business, it could be transformative for the country’s under-served population.

Visit the BBOXX website


Aceleron is an innovative, UK-based start-up, that seeks to solve some of the most challenging energy storage problems faced by off-grid energy companies in developing regions.

SF and the UK Government are supporting the company to pilot its battery assembly technology that repurposes batteries from equipment in developed markets, including laptops and electric vehicles that would otherwise be discarded, to be used in the off-grid sector as storage or power sources.

For example, a battery that may no longer be suitable to power a high-tech laptop in the UK may be able to power a solar irrigation pump in Kenya and be transformative threefold: helping reduce developed markets e-wastage, improving efficiency and productivity of off-grid enterprises in low-income areas, and transform lives of the end consumer of the technology.

Visit the Aceleron website

Further Reading: Off-grid energy storage options

We are working with the Grantham Institute at Imperial College, London, exploring electricity storage options for off-grid energy organisations and assessing future trends and opportunities. Read the preliminary report (PDF 1.1MB).