Hi Elizabeth, we would love to update you with our progress. BuffaloGrid has grown up a lot since those early trials, and supplies power in a way that is quite different from anyone else: power as a service. Rather than sell a power generating product, BuffaloGrid sells power.
Selling power overcomes the problem that people who make solar panels face: that solar panels can always be made cheaper, by reducing quality. Low-quality panels break quickly, and solar gets a bad reputation, so few people risk buying solar panels.
We would love the chance to explain all this better - I'm aware that our website could do a better job of describing how it works.
You can follow BuffaloGrid on the Twitter hashtag #buffalogrid to keep track of what is going on.
Hi Debora, thanks very much. As you said, we found that many rural people rely on their mobile phones for work, getting healthcare and banking. In rural areas, a mobile phone is much more critical than in urban areas, because it is often the only way to communicate outside a village. The UN has declared mobile phones to be the biggest economic factor for rural developing-world people.
The need to travel for miles to charge a phone, and wait hours for it to charge, makes mobile phones less useful. If charging a phone takes half a day, and it needs to be done twice a week, then a day each week is wasted. Consider also that most rural phones are charged at expensive diesel generators, which produce some of the world's most expensive power (for comparison, the cost of charging a phone for three weeks in Uganda is the same as charging for a whole year in the UK)
At the moment, BufaloGrid can be used to charge phones and lights. We know many poeple would also love to power sewing machines and televisions, and maybe we will look at them in the future, but today there are 500 million people with mobile phones and no power to charge them, so there is plenty to do.
Hi Rick, I can assure you that BuffaloGrid is not a hoax. We are a registered UK company, and we recently were awarded second place in Virgin Media's "3 new things" competition (http://www.vmb3newthings.co.uk/) and selected as one of Britain's 10 most innovative businesses (http://www.smarta.com/smarta100)
The photo used on this article is very old - from our very first trial, before we changed from bicycle power to solar power. I think it was taken in a township 50km from Mbale in Uganda. If you would like to see more recent photos, please head to www.buffalogrid.org and take a look at the photos in the "what" section
Thank you Elizabeth and all the other people who have posted here. My name is Damon and I work for BuffaloGrid. I wish I had found these great comments sooner. I will go through the comments here to try and answer your questions - apologies that some have been left unanswered for so long.
Yes saji you are right that technology is just moving on and on and the time is not far away when we will be living in the fully techno world no doubt still we are living in it but this has to go far way ahead in future.
@Debera: Yes technology can do wonders to anyone who is willing to take the extra mile and try it out. Even things get a bit tough you should not stop it. Technology is something which has been made to make things easier so obviously it will make things easier for everyone once you get used to it.
I couldn't agree with you more Debera. I think I will follow up on how this project is doing to see if what its founders hoped to achieve is panning out. If I find out anything I will post it here. Thanks again for your comments.
Thanks Elizebeth and yes if this technology expands in future for other devices it will definitely make a difference and will make things very easy and accessable to people who are deprived of electricity and living in small villages and towns .
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