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TechnologyTesla Batteries Are Keeping Zimbabwe’s Economy Running

10:35  01 september  2019
10:35  01 september  2019 Source:   bloomberg.com

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Updated on. 2:08. Tesla Batteries Are Keeping Zimbabwe ’ s Economy Running . Why Post-Mugabe Zimbabwe Remains Mired in Misery: QuickTake. The installation of 520 Powerwall batteries , with two going into each base station, is the largest telecommunications project in which Tesla has

Zimbabweans are relying on Tesla Inc. to help them pay their bills. Amid power outages of as long as 18 hours a day “Telecommunications have become the lifeblood of the economy ,” said Norman Moyo, the chief executive officer of Distributed Power Africa, which installs the batteries for Econet.

(Bloomberg) -- Zimbabweans are relying on Tesla Inc. to help them pay their bills.

Amid power outages of as long as 18 hours a day, Econet Wireless Ltd., Zimbabwe’s biggest mobile-phone operator, is turning to the Palo Alto, California-based automaker and storable-energy company for batteries that can keep its base stations running. The southern African country faces chronic shortages of physical cash, so almost all transactions are done digitally, and many via mobile phones.

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Zimbabweans are relying on Tesla to help them pay their bills. Amid power outages of as long as 18 hours a day, Econet Wireless, Zimbabwe ’ s biggest “Telecommunications have become the lifeblood of the economy ,” said Norman Moyo, the chief executive officer of Distributed Power Africa, which

Source: Tesla Batteries Are Keeping Zimbabwe ’ s Economy Running – Bloomberg. Mobile money is dominant in country with 18-hour power outages. Econet installing Tesla Powerwall batteries at base stations. A Tesla Powerwall battery at an Econet site in Harare.Photographer: Cynthia R. Matonhodze.

“Telecommunications have become the lifeblood of the economy,” said Norman Moyo, the chief executive officer of Distributed Power Africa, which installs the batteries for Econet. “If the telecom network is down in Zimbabwe, you can’t do any transactions.”

The installation of 520 Powerwall batteries, with two going into each base station, is the largest telecommunications project in which Tesla has participated to date, Moyo said. With Econet having about 1,300 base stations in the country and two other mobile-phone companies operating there, Distributed Power intends to install more batteries and could eventually roll the project out to other power-starved countries in Africa, such as Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, he said.

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INTERNATIONAL - Zimbabweans are relying on Tesla Inc. to help them pay their bills. Amid power outages of as long as 18 hours a day, Econet Wireless Ltd “Telecommunications have become the lifeblood of the economy ,” said Norman Moyo, the chief executive officer of Distributed Power Africa

Interesting fact about Zimbabwe ' s economy : they had one of the worst hyperinflation stories in human history. Then in 2009 they switched to a mix of Zimbabwe ' s story is a very sad one, especially when taking into account the potential that the country once had and the ingenuity and willingness to work

Base stations in Zimbabwe often use diesel-fired generators as backup, but fuel is also scarce in the country. The Powerwalls, which cost $6,500 each, will step in when solar panels aren’t generating enough electricity because it’s night or when heavily overcast. The lithium-ion batteries can power a station for as long as 10 hours, according to Econet. They are charged by the sun.

Tesla is working with a number of telecommunications companies around the world and sees a combination of solar panels and battery storage as a good opportunity to expand its business in countries and areas where electricity supply is erratic or non-existent, a company spokesperson said.

Econet’s mobile-money system Ecocash has 6.7 million active users in a country of 14 million people. It is used for everything from buying groceries to tipping waiters.

--With assistance from Godfrey Marawanyika and Loni Prinsloo.

To contact the reporter on this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: John McCorry at jmccorry@bloomberg.net, Rene Vollgraaff, Pauline Bax

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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