African focused renewable energy company, CrossBoundary Energy, has concluded a US$2 million off-grid solar energy deal with Zoodlabs SL Ltd, a technology and smart utility infrastructure company. The concluded deal will see CrossBoundary Energy develop a 1.2MW off-grid solar plus battery energy storage system to power submarine fiber optic and metro infrastructure in Sierra Leone.
Zoodlabs is operating a submarine network and its ancillary infrastructure under lease from the government of Sierra Leone. This is part of the government’s drive to bridge the digital divide, only about 18% of the country’s population is connected to the internet of which 16% is connected via their phone, and 2% from mobile dongles or fixed wireless broadband.
“Together with our partners; CrossBoundary Energy, USAID, The Shell Foundation, Powerhive and Netis, we have allocated between USD.1,500,000 to USD. 2,000,000 in capital investment to produce captive renewable energy of up to 1.2 megawatts, making the submarine fiber optic and our metro infrastructure the first fully green network in the sub-region,” said Davar Fazaeli, the Founder and CEO of Zoodlabs.
Solar to help improve internet access in Sierra Leone
The off-grid solar power system will have the capacity to run for up to 356 hours across all Zoodlabs’ sites without a genset, thereby reducing the network’s carbon dioxide emissions by 347.41 tonnes per year.
Powering fiber broadband infrastructure with solar energy will improve Sierra Leone’s connectivity and change the lives of its citizens. Zoodlabs says it reduced the cost of wholesale internet pricing by almost 50% during the first six months of operating in the country. The company also increased network total capacity from 80GBs to 1/2TBs.
“CrossBoundary Energy’s focus is selling clean, reliable energy to businesses across Africa. Zoodlabs has an incredible vision to improve Sierra Leone’s broadband internet access and power that infrastructure entirely with off-grid renewable energy. We are thrilled to be working with Zoodlabs, PowerHive, and Netis to deliver this significant project for Sierra Leone’s digital economy. It is a great example of what we think solar energy can do to revolutionize business in Africa,” says the Head of Business Development at CrossBoundary Energy, James Shoetan.