This HPS is a self-contained power unit that contained an Econet mobile SIM card linking the device to the cellular network and making it possible for the customer to pre-pay for energy usage.
While Econet Energy’s other products like the solar lamp have gone on to accompany other Econet related products as freebies, the HPS hasn’t been as prolific. One reason for this must have been the cost of the unit which, at its launch, was pegged at $200 for buyers using the prepaid system that offset the cost at 25 cents a day.
Now, Econet has lowered the price of the current model of the HPS from its current price of $163 to $99. That’s a significant discount, and while I won’t be setting out to get my hands on the HPS (I’m relying on a stingy colleague’s recommendation instead), $64 off any item deserves some notice.
The unit that is currently available from Econet has a 12-volt battery capacity, a 6 light system with switches for each light, a solar panel which goes onto the roof and generates power for the batteries. The power lasts up to 7 hours when charged. The device also features a socket for charging your mobile phone or tablet.
We are all punished by power cuts, so the HPS has a clear place in modern Zimbabwe and the vision to light up the huge segment of Africa that is not on the grid couldn’t be any clearer. With this discount, Econet has an even better offer for a price sensitive market. However, questions about the profitability of Econet Energy come to mind here.
With lamps being given away and products like the HPS going through price slashes, it’s easy to assume that either Econet was raking in killer profits off these devices the first time, or is now trying, for reasons best known to the operator, to offload as many of these units as possible.
Is business that bad for Econet Solar and is this a fire sale? This can’t be a seasonal special. After all, winter, with all its power cuts is over and Christmas is still months away.
Details on the exact number of HPS units sold so far weren’t immediately available, even though the figure at the end of 2013 put it 2,000 homes using it in Zimbabwe.
The precise figures on the performance of all things relating to Econet Solar haven’t been displayed either, and it’s also hard to determine if the Econet Solar International target to have the HPS in 125,000 African homes by the end of 2014 was met.
Image credit: econetrenewable.com