Zola Electric announces launch of world’s largest off-grid solar home solution - Flex Max

Enterprise technology company Zola Electric has announced the launch of Flex Max, an off-grid solar home solution that it claims to be the largest available on the global market.
Zola Electric announces launch of world’s largest off-grid solar home solution - Flex Max
Flex Max. Courtesy of Zola Electric.

Flex Max is aimed at customers living at the convergence of off-grid and on-grid, seeking to power AC appliances such as refrigeration alongside lights, connectivity and TV, and also businesses looking to power productive use products. It has been designed to fit seamlessly in with Zola’s network of hardware solutions and is installed, commissioned, optimised and managed through Zola’s network management software platform, Vision.

The solution builds upon the company’s distributed energy enterprise platform, aiming to deliver community-level electrification to the 3 billion people living without affordable, reliable energy. It is an evolution of Zola’s plug-and-play solar and storage hybrid power system Flex, designed for entry-level off-grid basic home appliance usage. In addition to lighting, a TV, and fan, Flex Max’s increased capacity can further power high efficiency AC and DC refrigerators in residential settings, so customers can better store food and minimize spoilage, and extends its application from the domestic to offices and hospitals.

Flex Max provides ‘electrical infrastructure in a box’ for customers with no existing connection or those with a weak/unreliable grid connection and not much roof space. Able to charge from both solar and the grid, Flex Max is a step up from previous generations, allowing Zola to serve both rural communities and the ‘peri-urban’ market. The core value of Flex Max is its larger, modular battery and flexibility to leverage both high-efficiency appliances that come with AC as well as infrastructure’s DC systems, so more customers can use existing appliances while benefiting from the versatility of Zola’s DC ecosystem. 

A key additional feature of Flex Max is the integration of new revenue models that will improve the capacity of Zola’s distributor partners to offer financing solutions to their customers. The incorporation of new hardware and software features will facilitate new financing mechanisms, such as pay-as-you-go models that support remote control of customer networks and allow the system to be locked in the case of non-payment. Crucially, this addresses the lack of traditional energy financing mechanisms in the developing world, combatting the affordability issue for end-users, while also supporting distribution partners. 

“We are thrilled to be adding Flex Max to Zola’s market-leading Enterprise technology platform, delivering distributed, clean, digital energy solutions to those that need it most” said Bill Lenihan, Chief Executive Officer of Zola Electric. “Flex Max offer significant hardware and software improvements and the most advanced battery technology that will be a game-changer in improving the reliability of energy systems in emerging markets. Through our valuable partnerships with local integrators and distributors, our solutions are installed in homes, businesses, schools and hospitals in 10 countries across four continents, serving over two million customers.  Zola’s platform of hybrid battery and storage solutions, monitored and managed by Vision, is the world’s first fully integrated, modular and intelligent platform purpose built for the Energy Access sector.”

Zola’s B2B model delivers clean, reliable and affordable energy to emerging markets globally, distributed through leading integrators in local markets including EDF, Shell, Econet/DPA and to emerging DRE (distributed renewable energy) integrators like Blue Camel in Nigeria. Its B2B model enables its integrator partners in local markets to efficiently build and manage networks that deliver community-level electrification to deliver Energy Access where it is needed most.

Zola’s recent notable milestones include the launch of the world’s first distributed mini-grid in Rwanda, in partnership with META (formerly Facebook), the Shell Foundation, USAID, and Endev, and its market entry into Haiti in partnership with Haiti Green Solutions, providing energy access and relief amidst the country’s dire energy crisis. 

In many emerging markets, the lack of reliable primary power results in the installation of millions of back-up solutions (diesel generators, lead acid batteries) that are poorly integrated, difficult to manage, unreliable, costly, dirty, and lack intelligence. As a result, socio-economic development, healthcare and education is severely hindered. Zola’s objective is to drive energy access to the three billion people and hundreds of millions of businesses globally that currently lack it.

For additional information:

Zola Electric

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