The power situation has been precarious for years at least. The problem is largely one of a lack of generation capacity coupled with increased power demand as we electrify the nation. The solution while simple in theory is the generation of more power. On a national level, this is complicated because of the capacity required to invest in projects that generate power to add significantly to the power grid. In the meantime, we have to look at demand management opportunities that exist. Some business ideas can capitalise on the situation and assist people in demand management in the same breath. Let’s discuss some of these ideas.
Power bank rental
The idea sounds simple enough, create a business that charges up and rents out power banks. It is a working shared economy business idea that has good examples in places like China. It requires a large investment in power banks and the capacity to charge them up. Customers pay for the powered-up banks, use them and then return them to the business. A membership fee can be instituted to cover a security deposit for the device else customers would simply run off with power banks. The same idea can be applied to chargeable lights and lanterns.
The uninterrupted power supply (UPS) is a device that has existed for a very long time. They were initially created to help people who worked on desktop computers to help with saving their work in the event of a power outage. They grant roughly an hour of power after the power cut to allow this. With mobile devices like laptops, tablets and phones which many people use for work now having their batteries UPSs now also covers things like wifi and fibre routers and modems. These make a great idea that can find a lot of success in the Zimbabwean market with present power challenges.
Power cuts have other adverse effects besides going without power. Devices large and small have been impacted by surges when power abruptly goes or comes back. Surge protectors are essentially adapters and extensions that regulate the power voltage and current to protect your devices. Many devices have been damaged and the cost of repair or replacement more than justifies the outlay for a surge protector. They come in many configurations to suit various types of devices and plugs. Ongoing protection for your valuable devices at a once-off cost is better than repair or replacement and with some devices, it may prove difficult or even impossible.
Liquified petroleum gas (LPG) is a viable option for alternative power. Gas refill itself is a big business and a worthy idea for a business. We should also look at where the gas will be used. It is largely used for cooking and that is one of the most painful things about power cuts. So things like gas stoves and ovens are still very good business ideas. We are just seeing the back end of winter so heating devices that work with gas may be out of favour but long term they will come back into demand because they still make a very good alternative.
Solar products have been with us for so long. The industry is well established and that makes for a mature market. That doesn’t mean there are no entry opportunities though. As power problems continue to prove to be the problem that will not go away soon more people wake up to the reality that they must, at least immediately, be their saviours. So the market is hardly saturated, new customers entering the markets means opportunities for new providers and that could be you.
Closely linked to solar products inverters also make good sense. While solar-powered inverters are popular you can also power an inverter from the normal grid to use up the power when needed. This is much like the thinking behind a UPS but inverters are meant to power much more and for longer. Inverters can be added to existing systems and work in conjunction with other power-related products.
As the authorities work to alleviate and eventually eliminate power problems businesses can step in and help those who are willing and able to do something for their part.