Solar Agro-Processing Power Stations

Innovator (Country of Incorporation): 
United Kingdom
Clean Energy Source: 
Agricultural Focus: 
Product Segment: 
Year of Award: 
Financing Status: 
Organization: 

Village Infrastructure Angels (VIA) was incorporated in 2012 with the mission to make poverty-alleviating infrastructure affordable to everyone through long-term loans.

Problem/Opportunity: 

Many small, rural villages and towns are off grid, with limited or no access to reliable sources of electricity. Agro-processing is a productive end use of electricity for which a large gap currently exists. These small villages typically do not have access to a diesel mill for crop processing, and must rely on manual processing, or travel long distances to use a mill.

Clean Energy Solution: 

VIA plans to install solar mills in villages in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, and Vanuatu. These mills will deliver services to up to 10,000 households. Small mills will be installed, with an appropriate capacity for the village, through a microfinancing program. The mills will be used to process staple crops, such as rice, corn, and cassava, that require processing before eating, and make up the majority of the diet of rural villagers.

Impact: 

Use of solar mills will decrease the amount of manual processing required and may also reduce reliance on diesel-fueled mills. The time saved in manual labor can be redirected to other efforts that will increase income, particularly for women who are the primary source of labor for agro-processing. Cost savings will be realized in the reduced consumption of diesel fuel, and reduced time spent traveling to mills in remote villages.

Progress Update: 

From a target of 200-500 solar mills, VIA and its main partner, Project Support Services, have delivered over 100 solar mills to market to date, and have more shipping to various countries. From a target of $3 million of investment to be mobilized over the award period, VIA has secured over $500,000 and has over $1 million more in the final stages of negotiation, which will enable fast progress in 2017. The solar mills were launched at Intersolar in Munich in June, which has raised interest from more potential partners beyond the original Asia-Pacific focus geography, and the first solar mills have now reached Africa.

Project News: 
Dec. 6, 2016

Village Infrastructure Angels has been chosen as a finalist in the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance's Fire Awards. Winners will receive support from a working group of experts to achieve the next steps in expanding their model and impact. Best of luck to everyone at VIA! 

Solar Powered Agro-Processing Machines
Jun. 4, 2016

VIA and their partner, Project Support Services, demonstrate some of the solar powered agricultural machines that they have developed. All the machines are plug-and-play, powered by 24V DC motors. Future efforts will include water pumps and power distribution kits for village-scale nano-grids.

Apr. 20, 2016

Stewart Craine of Village Infrastructure Angels spoke in a webinar hosted by The Low Carbon Energy for Development Network and Smart Villages. Experts shared their experiences with failure and why failure is actually an important element in successfully delivering energy access to remote communities.

Mar. 8, 2016

Stewart Craine of Village Infrastructure Angels spoke in a webinar hosted by The Low Carbon Energy for Development Network and Smart Villages. Experts related on-ground experiences working in remote areas where energy access is limited or almost nonexistent, and what they are doing to promote access.