This native solar battery firm has an reasonably priced resolution for properties and startups affected by load shedding – Enterprise Insider Germany

I-G3N management team; Tumi Mphahele, Jaques Buys, Sydney Phakathi. (Image: included / i-G3N)

  • i-G3N, a local battery manufacturer, develops energy storage solutions to help small businesses keep their doors open during load shedding.
  • The battery units start at R10,000 and go up to R200,000 for more commercial applications.
  • The company hopes to enter additional markets on the continent, with Nigeria being one of its targets
  • For more stories see

A local solar-powered battery manufacturer, i-G3N, says it has lithium-ion batteries that households and small businesses can rely on at affordable prices in the event of power outages amid the ongoing energy crisis in South Africa.

Founded by Tumi Mphahlele, Sydney Phakathi and Jaques Buys, i-G3N was founded in 2018 to respond to the load shedding crisis that South Africa has grappled with for more than a decade.

It mainly produces energy storage devices that serve as emergency power in the event of load shedding or as an alternative power supply for households and companies that want to go offline.

It is imperative for i-G3N to provide power to small businesses in particular.

"The people who suffer the most are small businesses that have to shut down for those three or four hours … and they have to pay their employees, but there is no production and some types of businesses run entirely on electricity," Mphahlele said.

Mphahlele said South Africa's difficulties with keeping the lights on had grown bigger than minor discomfort in the living area.

“It actually slows our economy's ability to grow. So the void we're actually closing, or the impact we're actually making, is much deeper because we're trying to get businesses up and running, ”she said.

The products have a starting price of R10,000 and go up to over R200.00 for those intended for commercial and industrial use.

“We tried to differentiate our products. People's budgets are different. We have the Nano, which is a fairly portable unit, (and other) storage solutions for residential use and scalability to essentially commercial projects, and we have it across the line, "said Buys.

The company has a network of more than 1,000 installers and monitors the 213 million Nigerian market on continents such as Namibia and Zambia, Phakathi said. Nigeria's own unstable electricity supply has also weighed on small businesses and the economy as a whole.

"We were lucky that we had a lot of contacts with dealers in other countries, but there is an urgent need in Nigeria. I see ourselves more active in this market. Traditionally it has been a diesel and generator market, even in South Africa, but people are starting to too realize that the cost of diesel is very high, "Phakathi said.

Buys said the company is also keeping an eye on Botswana and placing its hopes on the return of tourism to the country, potentially increasing the demand for alternative energy solutions.

"There are a lot of lodges that are trying not to connect to the grid and be self-sufficient, but as the tourism market is taking a nosedive with Covid, all of these projects are still in sight, but they are simply postponing them or decalcifying them." We hope that tourism will return to these countries, which have a very valuable source of income that does not currently exist, "said Buys.

(Compiled by Ntando Thukwana.)

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