Increasing energy access in off-grid AfricaJun 23, 2014
To meet the vast challenges of providing energy in rural Africa, NOTS is delivering two innovative solutions to the base of the pyramid – Blue Power (solar lamps) and Blue Charcoal (sustainable charcoal production). As an impact enterprise, NOTS’ business model is focused on maximizing social and environmental impact while generating enough profit to provide investors with healthy returns. By 2016, NOTS aims to sell 200,000 solar lamps and 1,500 Blue Charcoal packages across the African continent.
"It’s very important to have organizations such as NOTS join the Business Call to Action, especially with their unique vision and approach to help reach new communities and improve access to sustainable and affordable energy options,” said Sahba Sobhani, Acting Programme Manager, Business Call to Action.
After pilot projects with various renewable energy products and an evaluation by McKinsey consultants, NOTS concluded that financially sustainable distribution of available technologies such as solar lamps and sustainable charcoal kilns is the major bottleneck to expanding renewable energy in Africa. To facilitate greater access, NOTS began selling solar lamps from its first office in Mali in 2011, and soon after started working with communities to produce charcoal using the ‘ADAM retort’, a high-efficiency, sustainable charcoal production oven. In early 2014, NOTS opened a second office in Rwanda, and in just four months has positioned itself as a leading solar lamp and sustainable charcoal distributor.
“NOTS has set out to provide much-needed access to energy for those living at the base of the pyramid, and is committed to delivering products that transform lives, improve the environment and attract investors," reports Bart Hartman, Founder of NOTS.
To date, NOTS has improved the lives of nearly 400,000 individuals and offset more than 30 tons of carbon emissions. Working with governments, NGOs and private businesses has been a key to its success; these partnerships are set to expand as NOTS grows to support low-income populations in other regions.
Founded in 2003, NOTS is an impact enterprise that works to improve lives and preserve nature in sub-Saharan Africa by building renewable energy enterprises. The company focuses on the sale and distribution of solar lamps (‘Blue Power’), and sustainable charcoal production (‘Blue Charcoal’). The company was founded by Dutch entrepreneur Bart Hartman, who has over 20 years’ experience in commercial business. NOTS currently has teams in the Netherlands, Mali and Rwanda.