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Last Updated : Sep 04, 2019 10:34 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

How Tesla's Powerwalls will help Zimbabwe’s economy

The California-based company is set to install 520 Powerwalls at 260 Econet sites, the first 65 of which will be set up in the coming months.

Power outages are frequent in Zimbabwe, with some lasting for well over half the day. Due to the African nation’s shortage of physical cash, the digital financial transaction system has been embraced, most of which are conducted over mobile devices. This makes digital transactions very important to the economy.

Frequent power outages can be a big issue for a country like Zimbabwe that is heavily reliant on digital transactions as these transactions require operational mobile networks, which in turn require power.

Base stations of telecom providers stop operating during these outages. And, those that do run usually rely on old diesel generators to remain active. While the system does work, fuel is already scarce in the country.

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However, an African telecom giant, Econet Wireless is looking to Tesla for batteries that can keep its base stations running. The California-based company is set to install 520 Powerwalls at 260 Econet sites, the first 65 of which will be set up in the coming months.

The Powerwalls costs $6,500 each and will kick-in when solar panels aren’t generating enough electricity. The Powerwalls are powered by the sun, while Econet claims that the lithium-ion batteries can power a station for as long as ten hours.

In a report by Bloomberg, Norman Moyo, Chief Executive Officer, Distributed Power Africa, said; “Telecommunications have become the lifeblood of the economy. If the telecom network is down in Zimbabwe, you can’t do any transactions.”

Considering Econet has about 1,300 base stations across Zimbabwe, there’s a fat chance that this could only be the beginning. Moyo’s company – who handled Tesla-battery installations – also noted that if successful, the similar Powerwalls would be adopted in other areas in the neighbouring regions.

Tesla has also been working behind the scenes to help deploy solar and energy storage solutions in Africa. The company has already installed hundreds of thousands of small solar and storage systems in start-ups all over Africa.

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First Published on Sep 4, 2019 10:34 am

tags #Tesla

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