What We Do
The iShack Project is a social enterprise that provides off-grid solar electricity to residents of informal settlements while they wait for grid-electrification. We are based at the Sustainability Institute just outside Stellenbosch, South Africa, and we run energy utilities in Stellenbosch and Cape Town.
Our objective is to demonstrate, at scale, a viable and financially sustainable public-private business model for the provision of incremental energy services to under-serviced communities. Our model is consistent with numerous existing laws and policies in South Africa that prioritise the delivery of subsidised basic services to the poorest members of society. The South African Constitution envisages "progressive realisation" of services, and the iShack service is a working embodiment of that vision which can be adopted by municipalities throughout the country in order that they deliver on their statuatory obligations to ensure universal access to basic energy.
Our clients join the service voluntarily and receive a Solar Home System that can generate sufficient energy to power lights and energy-efficient media appliances such as LED TVs, radios, tablets and smart-phones.
The iShack operating model is a long-term commitment to maintaining the utility (for as long as it is needed), rather than a purely technical, drop-and-go intervention. We aim to build local enterprising capacity, develop skills, create green jobs and contribute to the resilience of the communities we serve. Our operations team includes a group of ‘iShack Agents’ who all live in the community where they work. Weekly training is provided at the Sustainability Institute, during which the Agents are given the skills necessary to deliver a high quality, durable solar energy service.
What our clients say
‘My children are at home at night watching TV and improving their English skills instead of being out on the street getting into trouble, this makes me very happy’
‘I feel safer at night and can sleep better because I’m not worried that my house is going to burn down anymore from candles.’
‘This is great, I have lights always and don’t miss any TV shows. When can I get a Fridge?’