Tesla batteries ‘powering’ Zimbabwe

Unreliable electricity in Zimbabwe has forced its main telecoms company, Econet, to use batteries made by US-based automaker Tesla, Bloomberg news site reports.

Econet services, especially mobile money transfers, have been critical in a country that suffers from severe cash shortages.

“Telecommunications have become the lifeblood of the economy… If the telecom network is down in Zimbabwe, you can’t do any transactions,” said Norman Moyo, the chief executive officer of Distributed Power Africa, which installs the batteries for Econet.

The southern African country experiences regular power outages, some as long as 18 hours, and its base stations – which often use diesel-powered generators as backup – are not reliable because of a fuel shortage.

Tesla’s powerwall, which can power a base station for 10 hours, have been installed in 520 of the 1,300 base stations that Econet operates.

Tesla is working with a number of telecommunications companies around the world, and sees a combination of solar panels and battery storage as a good opportunity to expand its business in countries and areas where electricity supply is erratic or non-existent, a company spokesperson said, Bloomberg reports. BBC News