Powering up: University of Toronto startup brings portable, renewable electricity to rural areas

Power capsules developed by U of T startup Reeddi are being deployed in Nigeria to provide affordable and sustainable electricity (photo by Leke Alabi Isama/GGImages/Proof Africa)

Only two years after its creation, University of Toronto startup Reeddi is well on its way to fulfilling its mission to bring sustainable, affordable electricity to places where reliable power is hard to come by.

Olugbenga Olubanjo

“Right now, our technology serves a combined 600 households and businesses monthly in Nigeria,” says Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering alumnus Olugbenga Olubanjo, who is Reeddi’s founder and CEO. “We have plans to increase that number.”

In 2017, Olubanjo’s first year at U of T, he would make phone calls to family and friends in Nigeria, where he grew up. But often these calls would be disrupted by power outages in the African country.

For those who can afford them, diesel generators offered one potential solution. But the units and the fuel needed to run them are costly, and they produce harmful emissions, including greenhouse gases.

Olubanjo knew that the cost of solar power had plummeted in recent years and wanted to make the technology more accessible to rural Nigerians. The solution he hit upon was a solar-powered “electricity bank,” where portable power packs could be rented on a short-term basis.

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