Sagar Energy Solutions – shining light on a sustainable future
Lake Victoria is the world’s largest tropical lake, providing food and jobs for millions of people in Africa. Around 60 per cent of all fish consumed on the continent is reported to come from the great lake, as lucrative night fishing generates much-needed income for rural communities.
Despite its vast scale, the night fishing industry remains inefficient and ripe for innovation, and social entrepreneurs from Sagar Energy Solutions are proposing a modern and sustainable solution that they are ready to scale for local economies across developing countries.
“Over half of the fish caught in Lake Victoria is a type of sardine known as ‘Dagaa’,” co-founder Andreas Ostrovsky Pereira explained. “These fish are attracted to the light emitted by floating kerosene lanterns used by the local fishermen, and in Tanzania alone over 700,000 litres of kerosene is burned almost every night.”
Kerosene is an expensive fuel – costing fishermen over $140 million per year – and poses a threat to workers’ health and the wider lake ecosystem.
With these dangers in mind, Sagar Energy Solutions has developed a solar powered fishing lamp to replace kerosene lanterns, presenting a solution that eliminates fuel costs, is safer, easier to use and proven to catch around 40 per cent more fish. The lamps are twice as bright and last up to four hours longer (between 10 and 12 hours) than their traditional kerosene counterpart.
“The lamps are charged by our own specially designed, modular charging stations,” Andreas added. “Being modular, these can provide additional charging solutions tailored to each market’s specific need.”
Solar powered fishing lamps provide an entry point to the East African market – where the night fishing industry is estimated to be worth around $500 million – however Andreas’s long term mission is to reach multi billion dollar markets by transforming entire neglected, off-grid communities using renewable energies.
“The majority of existing solar solutions focus on consumer loads like household lighting and cooking, which work at the individual level,” Andreas explained. “Sagar Energy Solutions will have a much greater impact by growing local economies as a whole. In phase two, our charging stations will be upgraded to become smart mini-grids providing electricity for all, enabling peer-to-peer power exchange as well as smart meter reading technologies.
“There are still over 600 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa without access to electricity. In Tanzania alone, where we have strong established relationships with the customer base, only 15 per cent of the population currently has access to the national grid. By stimulating grassroot level economies in these fishing communities, we’ll lay the foundation to leapfrog to clean technologies and provide access to affordable and clean energy for all.”
Sagar Energy Solutions is seeking investment, expertise and team growth to help bring its product to a large and life-changing market. If you think you can help or are interested in joining, please get in touch using the contact form on this page.
Andreas has developed and launched Sagar Energy Solutions while undertaking a BSc in International Relations at the University of Southampton. The social enterprise has been inspired through Merit360, the world’s leading youth platform dedicated to tacking the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. As part of Andreas’s involvement as an executor of an action plan for Affordable and Clean Energy within the programme, he has presented the startup’s strategy at the General Assembly Room of the United Nations in New York.