A charitable organization called BuffaloGrid has developed a portable solar-powered charger that can be used to quickly and safely charge phones in developing countries. Cellphones have proven to effectively connect communities in countries lacking wired telecommunications infrastructure; however, the lack of electricity infrastructure makes device-charging a problem. BuffaloGrid tackles this by providing solar-powered charger hubs to communities, and offers them a share in its profits.
BuffaloGrid founder Phil Schluter spent 20 years as a coffee trader in Africa, and came up with the idea after seeing the benefits cellphones were bringing to local communities and recognizing the difficulties in charging phones.
The BuffaloGrid equipment is provided for free to entrepreneurs in the local community. Customers pay for the use of the device by sending a premium text message as their payment. The entrepreneurs who own and manage the device then share in BuffaloGrid's profits.