First time accepted submitter superfast-scooter writes "I wanted to let the community know of a research project I've been fortunate to be part of — it's a rural electrification project called SharedSolar at the Modi Research Group at Columbia University. The project has 17 pilot sites in sub-Saharan Africa to-date, providing prepaid energy services to over 3000 people who did not have access to electricity — a fraction of the over 1.3 Billion worldwide. The lab has been developing custom software applications to integrate off-the-shelf hardware components, and also provide the operational and management mechanisms needed. Communications with the sites are over the mobile networks. Consumers can recharge their accounts using either cellphones, or visit a designated local vendor who can do it at the site using an Android app. Software residing locally makes each site autonomous, and the online platform allows for remote visibility, localized consumer interactions and integration with payment solutions. And we're planning on deploying soon in Haiti and Kenya."