The United Nations Educational Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has offered to equip school goers in some African countries with photovoltaic films. To achieve this, UNESCO signed a partnership deal with Frech cloud security company, Armor, the makers of the film, at the end of 2018. Under the partnership agreement, Armor must supply UNESCO with photovoltaic films that will be used to power the portable lamps that will be distributed to some African students.
For UNESCO, this project represents an innovation that was tested on a pilot basis earlier this year in a government primary school in Togo. This pilot project will be part of a larger project and will be the broader implementation under this partnership agreement. Already, the innovation has been successfully tested with six students from a primary school in the same area.
The innovation was designed based on Armor’s skill in coating thermal transfer ribbons dedicated to barcode printing. The company has reportedly adapted it to produce a flexible and competitive organic photovoltaic film on an industrial scale. According to Armor, this new generation low-carbon photovoltaic film is the result of a low-energy, silicon-free manufacturing process that uses no other rare or toxic resources. While its focus is presently on the countries of the subcontinent like Senegal, Togo, Benin, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Burkina Faso, Armor’s photovoltaic film is already present in South Africa and Morocco. The company has opened a site in Nairobi (Kenya) and has deployed a business developer, Adrien Ranchon, in Ivory Coast, to specifically develop the Asca photovoltaic film range.
The UNESCO project is expected to provide up to 212 school children in the Akplolo locality in Togo with rechargeable mobile lamps to enable them easily revise their lessons in the evening. Armor will provide the school with 65 Solar sets (pouches that, once opened, serve as solar chargers) and 240 portable and rechargeable LED lamps. The Solar sets are equipped with Asca organic photovoltaic film and are charged by sunlight. This will greatly contribute to improving the learning condition of these pupils, as well as provide them with a better living standard in terms of power.
Several African countries including Togo have many challenges to meet in terms of access to electricity. In 2018, the rate of access to electricity was 45 percent, and many households in rural areas are still completely without electricity. The country hopes to reach 50 percent in 2020 and 90 percent in 2030.