Here is an interesting company providing creative solutions to get energy to people living off grid, in a way that is also self-sustaining and supports the people who use the electricity as well:

Intro to BuffaloGrid from Buffalo Grid on Vimeo.

Connectivity is productivity.

The UN says “Mobile phones are the biggest contributor to economic growth in off-grid rural populations”. But keeping a phone charged when off-grid is frustrating and expensive. People travel large distances to charge their phones, pay for the world’s most expensive electricity, and lose their phones for half a day while they charge. Twice a week.

It’s a “poverty gap” scenario – people are paying so much money to charge their phones, that they can’t afford to buy a solar cell. If only charge was cheaper and closer…

Buffalo is a way for mobile network operators to get involved and help bridge that gap. Network operators are keen to be involved because they are missing out on 1/3 of the revenue related to mobiles – they get revenue from airtime, but none from charging. Buffalo lets network operators become involved in the charging game, by helping to bridge the gap. People get cheaper, closer power, network operators get income and everyone wins.

Buffalo provides a simple and unique solution that brings power to people. Solar powered BuffaloBoxes bring charge right where it’s needed. A charged phone means access to services such as mobile-banking, water point mapping, and eventually the internet and the world.

An article from New Scientist