in Ghana

Solar-Powered Small Business Centres Expanding Education and Jobs

ThinkBiz Africa is combining proven solar-powered social businesses with free educational resources in Africa to support education and entrepreneurship, especially for women and girls.  See below for more details:

1.0 Summary

Our team at Think Renewables Group (TRG) has launched an initiative called ThinkBiz Africa, which is planning to build a network of solar-powered Small Business (SBiz) Centres to facilitate education and entrepreneurship in Africa, especially for women and girls.

Each SBiz Centre includes at least one profitable social business and free educational information that is made available to the local community and nearby school(s) via Wi-Fi.  The profitable social business is expect to be one of the following:

a) Solar-powered irrigation system by an experienced manufacturer such as SunCulture.
b) Solar-powered convenience store by an experienced manufacturer such as SOLARKIOSK.
c) Solar-powered micro-grid by an experienced micro-grid company such as FlexGrid.
d) Solar-powered cold storage by an experienced cold storage company such as TAGE.

Each of these social businesses has been proven to work and be profitable in many locations in Africa.  As a result, we expect these businesses will enable us to provide free educational resources via WiFi on a sustainable basis.

2.0 Implementation Strategy

With each social business, we plan to partner with a company that already operates this type of business in Africa to commission, manage operations and provide some training for our staff.  In this way, ThinkBiz Africa can grow quickly and remain focussed on the larger strategy of utilizing self-sustaining social businesses to facilitate education and entrepreneurship, especially for girls and women.  A particular social business would only expand to other SBiz Centres when it makes economic sense to do so.

We plan to include one of our Conferencing eStation (CeS) models with each SBiz Centre to facilitate remote monitoring and technical support for each social business that is part of this centre.  The CeS will also will be utilized to support education and entrepreneurship in the local community.

Other businesses can be located on land that is managed by the SBiz Centre if they provide positive social benefits to the community and pay rent to do so.  In this way, a SBiz Centre can develop into a commercial mall that supports a range of businesses.  

3.0 Experience

Think Renewables Group (TRG) has over 5 years of operational experience in Afghanistan with its Conferencing eStation, which is its most advanced knowledge delivery system.  In addition, over the past 5 years, TRG has continued to build its e-Library of free educational information that is provided with each of these systems.  

Each of the potential partners that TRG is considering to work with has considerable expertise and experience in their respective areas.  These include the following companies:

a) SOLARKIOSK, which started over 5 years ago and now has over 200 of its solar-powered convenience stores (E-HUBBS) operating in East Africa.
b) Flex-Grid, which has recently developed a new generation of flexible solar-powered mini-grids that we are also considering to use in our projects.
c) Afrique Telecom was founded in 2005 and enables satellite IP services to people in all African countries.

4.0 Local Community Engagement

To implement effectively and quickly, we plan to partner with African organizations such as the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), which is the largest alliance of Civil Society Organizations (CSO) in Africa with over 1,000 members in over 45 countries, embodying one African voice on climate and environmental justice.  In addition to helping our team engage with local communities, our partner or partners can help us expand our master education eLibary for education, entrepreneurship and climate adaptation.  

This eLibrary for Africa would be similar to the master eLibary TRG has assembled for Afghanistan, and it can be installed at each SBiz Centre location.  To view an online version of one major component of this eLibrary, see: RACHEL eLibrary.

5.0 Additional Social Businesses 

Our SBiz Centres can be combined with several other social businesses that will create additional jobs, taxes and benefits for local communities. These social businesses could include the following:

a) Clean water filter system and automated dispenser (ATM) by a manufacturer such as Susteq (it would be combined with a solar system to power it).
b) Skywater Air Water Machine that uses biowaste to generate clouds for clean water
c) Biodigester to generate energy from waste
d) Device That Pulls Water Out of Desert Air + More related articles

6.0 Background Information on SBiz Centre

To provide a quick introduction to ThinkBiz Africa, we created a 2.5 minute introductory video and then followed it with our full pitch video.  This video shows an example SBiz Centre containing a solar-powered convenience store and a micro-grid.  As indicated earlier, an actual SBiz Centre may include other social businesses such as a solar-powered cold storage room.  You can view it by clicking on one of these links:

a) Special video format (allows viewers to skip slides)
b) Standard video in a webpage

7.0 Specifications for a Typical Cold Storage Room in Nigeria 

Given below is a set of cold storage room specifications for a typical cold storage project in Nigeria.  (We are planning to use a similar configuration for most locations in Ghana):

a) Standard cold storage system size in terms of cubic feet or cubic meters of storage: 2,200 cubic feet (Approx:24 ft. x 12 ft. x 8 ft.); (63.0 cubic meters [7.3m x 3.6m x 2.4m]).
b) Power needed by cold storage system: __KW (peak power rate that is generated by solar panels during middle of day).
c) Area needed for solar system: market clusters / food marketplace/Hub: 24 ft. 120ft. (7.3m x 36.6m), which is about 2 plots of land in Nigeria.
d) Capacity of ice-energy storage system needed: ____.
e) Energy that needs to be stored in electric batteries to operate pumps, lights, etc: ____
f) Type of electric battery supplied (Lead-acid, Lithium-ion, etc.): ____

Note: Shown at this link is an online tool that can be used to estimate solar energy available at any given location in the world:

8.0 Combining the SBiz Centre with Education and Job Creating Initiatives

Given below are some education and job creating initiatives that may be combined with an SBiz Centre:

a) An online business directory on a master server with copies of this directory on subordinate servers that would be located in many centres across Africa.  Once these servers are operational, this business directory information can be accessed from the master server via the internet and from the  subordinate servers via locally broadcast WiFi.
b) An online investment promotion platform to help African businesses obtain financing.  This online platform would be similar to one being developed by the “Climate Solutions Advancement Network” to increase investment in climate solutions.
c) Encourage entrepreneurs to organize meetings to help each other as is occurring in many cities around the world.  For example, see:

9.0 Proposed SBiz Centre locations in Ghana

ThinkBiz Africa is planning to create about 200 SBiz Centres in three years in Ghana.  The businesses to be located in each SBiz Centre will be determined on a case-by-case basis through a detailed market study.  For approximate estimating purposes, we are planning this set and number of business combinations:

Sbiz Centre


Solar Power Generated – Each [KW]

Solar Power Generated – Total [KW]

# of Solar kiosks Only




# of Solar kiosks with micro-grids




# of Solar kiosks with Cold Rooms




 # of Cold Rooms Only








As shown in this table, we estimate that we will generate approximately 2,162 KW peak when all the centres are operating.   The actual amount we generate will depend on the final configurations of all the centres.  For a more detailed explanation and estimate of what we are planning, see this link:

Estimated Distribution of ThinkBiz Africa Offices and SBiz Centers in Ghana

10. Estimated Cost of Implementing the ThinkBiz Africa Project in Ghana.

The total estimated cost of the ThinkBiz Africa project in Ghana is approximately $30.1 million.  This project will include:

 a) One head-office, equipment testing centre and central training centre
 b) Ten regional offices
 c) 200 SBiz Centres

To view a more detailed cost estimate, see this link:

Proposed SBiz Centre Composition, Locations & Estimated Cost in Ghana