The Water Energy Hubs (WE!Hubs) are decentralized, solar-operated energy hubs that work independently of grid-connection and reliably supply remote communities with renewable energy, energy services and safe drinking water. For a small fee, people can rent portable lanterns, lamps and batteries that replace the widespread kerosene lamps, which are more and more expensive and harmful to human health and nature. Additionally, mobile phones can be recharged at the WE!Hubs. A cyber café provides access to computer services and the internet. Thanks to a water treatment unit, people can also get clean drinking water at a fair and affordable price. An intense training and mentoring program on Business management and Social skills fosters local small-scale entrepreneurship.
Renewable energy is the main energy source for the WE!Hubs. The roof-mounted photovoltaic system comprises 72 panels, giving a total of 15 kWp electrical power. At the hubs, two multi-use products are offered which serve as a light source and can also be used to operate small electronic devices or to charge mobile phones. For the drinking water, raw water is collected from the roofs and stored in tanks. The water is purified through a combined sand/carbon filter and secondly, treated by a microfiltration system. Finally, UV-C lamps sterilize the water. Each cybercafé is equipped with a central workstation and up to 10 client workstations.
About 1.3 billion people worldwide depend on fuel-based lighting, because they have no access to the electricity grid. Kerosene has serious negative effects on human health such as eye and respiratory diseases resulting from the emission of toxic fumes. Through spillages and considerable CO2 and black carbon emissions, it is also harmful to the environment and climate. Waterborne diseases are regularly found in almost all households in the project area. Especially in these rural regions, the main sources for drinking water are highly polluted rivers, lakes and wells. So, access to clean water helps to improve the health status of the people.
The Water-Energy Hubs (WE!Hub) provide environmentally friendly and affordable electric lighting solutions as an alternative to kerosene lighting, clean drinking water in areas where there is no such water available, the possibility to charge mobile phones and use computers and the internet. Coevally, they are a platform for employment opportunities, staff and customer training programs and income possibilities to people in disadvantaged communities in remote and rural surrounding areas of the Project. The WE!Hubs are established as a social business, which means they reinvest profits solely in the expansion of the business and charitable activities.
- Number of hubs built and in operation: 8
- Number of new jobs created: 30 employees at hub and headquarter level
- Number of people served: 16.000
- Litres of water sold: 285.000
- Number of clients at internet cafés: 3.500
- Number of people trained in entrepreneurship: 350