DOUGLAS, N.B – A Fredericton company known for bringing renewable energy solutions to communities off the grid in Cameroon wants New Brunswickers to know they can transform the lives of people here at home too.
Caleb Grove, founder of Mbissa Energy, will showcase a micro home in Douglas Thursday that uses 100 per cent renewable solar and wind energy in order to run basic electrical services.
“I’m excited to show off the technology and business model that we’ve been able to develop this year with support from [Energia and UNB],” said Grove in a release.
“I look forward to showing how this support is going to allow us to efficiently bring sustainable electricity to entire communities in Cameroon, Canada and beyond.”
Grove lived in Cameroon before moving from New Brunswick with his family at a young age, and he saw first-hand the struggles faced by those in the poor communities in rural west Africa, a big one being the lack of electricity.
One of these communities is the island of Mbissa with a population of around 3,000 people. Though the community didn’t have the possibility of grid development, it did have lots of two things: sun and wind. Grove thought about installing something like wind turbines on the island would be a viable solution, but that seemed like a pipe dream.
But while studying at the University of New Brunswick 2013-2014, Grove discovered that pipe dream could become reality.
“Around 2013-14 when I started doing work at the Technology Management and Entrepreneurship department at UNB Fredericton, we had classes where we could consider starting a business,” Grove told Huddle in an interview last spring.
“So just for fun, I was throwing the idea around of putting wind turbines on Mbissa. From there I was able to gain a little bit of traction so the idea could officially be pursued and since then it’s grown significantly.”
Mbissa has now completed 40 renewable energy installations in homes, clinics, and businesses on and around the island Mbissa. Grove plans to return to Cameroon in January to train another team of technicians who he hopes can complete installations across the entire island of Mbissa within eight months.
Dhirendra Shukla, chair of the Dr. J. Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management & Entrepreneurship, said Mbissa is proving there is a business case for the application for these renewable energy solutions in Africa and Canada.
“Mbissa Energy is a great example of how a technology company can improve quality of life across the globe, while being a sustainable, for-profit business,” says Shukla in a release. “Focusing on powering rural Africa with renewable energy will also allow these regions to leapfrog the traditional fossil fuel industry, and allow communities to remain self-sufficient.”