Our Story

PeCo Power, progress through electrification.

Global Energy Poverty

The world is currently facing an energy poverty crisis. Globally, there are over 800 million people without electricity. The majority of these are sparse populations of indigent households in the rural regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. These households are isolated from any utility grid infrastructure and rely primarily on burning biomass to meet their energy demands. The low energy demand and spread of these households make expanding the utility grid to electrify them financially unfeasible. There is thus an essential need for an innovative alternative to utility grid electrification in order to reach the unreachable. 

2014: Researching alternative solutions

Professor Willie Cronje from the University of the Witwatersrand took on the challenge to develop an electrification system to address the global energy poverty crisis. In 2014, Prof. Cronje began researching the possibilities of an electrification system based on renewable energy that could be built from modular components using a bottom-up approach. Using modular components allows for the rapid deployment of smaller systems that can then be expanded to build larger systems, which could eventually be interconnected to build a grid capable of electrifying entire villages.

2019: The launch of PeCo Power (Pty) Ltd

In 2019, after five years of research and development, Prof. Cronje and his team of engineering students built and validated a Smart Mini-Grid. This innovation surpassed all expectations. It possessed features that would enable it to become an alternative to utility grid electrification, which meant that it could provide for the essential electrification needs of households in impoverished communities. The innovation was patented and caught the attention of energy venture capitalist Umbono Natural Resources. Through the combined efforts of Prof. Cronje, his team of engineering students, Wits Enterprise and Umbono, PeCo Power (Pty) Ltd was founded as an endeavour to commercialise the Smart Mini-Grid.

2021: Exciting launch of PeCo Powers Smart Mini-Grid

Originally set for 2020, the official launch of the PeCo Power’s Smart Mini-Grid into the market was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this setback, the PeCo team was able to refine the Smart Mini-Grid to achieve a commercially viable product and, at the same time, industrialise the manufacturing and production processes. All PeCo Power products are proudly South African, with the production facility based at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. In 2021, PeCo Power will launch a range of modular Smart Solar Blocks and Smart Storage Blocks. These Smart Blocks are the building blocks of the Smart Mini-Grid. This launch of PeCo Power’s Smart Mini-Grid could not have come at a better time, as South Africa is currently facing an energy crisis. There is a desperate need for alternatives to grid electrification that can meet the essential electricity needs of electrified and off-grid homes across the
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Build your own home grid to suit your budget and needs.

PeCo Power systems are safe and easy to use and set up. They are flexible enough to be configured for different uses and expanded over time yet reliable and resilient enough for rugged environments.

Systems are fault protected and maintenance does not require technical expertise. They can be interconnected for power sharing and high level usage and they accommodate most off the shelf equipment.