Monthly Archives: September 2014



Another great milestone for WakaWaka

In addition to increasing local support and market uptake, we are pleased to announce the achievement of another great milestone for WakaWaka.  As an impact driven social venture that fights to abolish energy poverty across the globe, we are proud to report that a total of 100,000 WakaWaka units have been distributed to disaster zones and areas of need around the world.

 “We are committed to ensuring that in addition to enhancing recreational activities and improving safety and security, our products empower communities where daily consumption of electricity is not a reality either as a result of energy poverty or through national disaster,” says Ryan Steytler, Director, Sungrid Group.

Some of the areas that continue to benefit from free or subsidised WakaWaka units include the likes of Syria (34,474 units), the Philippines (13,368 units), Haiti (12,000 units) and Kenya (5,546 units).

“100,000 units to date, and counting,” adds Steytler.



Black River Park, our home away from home and one of the Western Cape’s largest office park developments, is leading the way in the use of sustainable energy for commercial office buildings.

Set to become the largest integrated photovoltaic plant in Africa, it will also be the first to legally transmit electricity back into the city’s electrical distribution network.

“As strong advocates for the use of solar power, it is great to work in an office park which supports the same objective and values as us.  We are both thrilled and proud to have our office situated in Black River Park,” says Ryan Steytler, Director, Sungrid Group.



Great acclaim for Ecoboxx and WakaWaka

Our Ecoboxx and WakaWaka product range were represented, as part of the Outdoor Warehouse exhibition stand, at this year’s Getaway Show. Taking place at the Coca-Cola dome over the last weekend of August, this ever popular travel, outdoor and adventure show did not disappoint the hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of visitors who took part over the three days.

“It was a showcase of innovative products and interactive exhibitions,” says Talana Cole, Business Development Manager for In2Brands, part of the Sungrid Group.  And with great enthusiasm shown for the ‘Switch to Portable Solar Power’ product range, it was as much of a success for In2Brands as it was for the show’s organisers with our very own Ecoboxx receiving the Getaway Show’s award for ‘Best Camping Gear and Accessories 2014’.

“We exhibited both the Ecoboxx 120 and 160, together with the WakaWaka product range,” says Cole.  With a lot of interest shown in both products, of definite appeal is the versatility. “Power cuts and interrupted power supply is fast becoming the norm in Johannesburg,” continues Cole. “The fact that a product such as Ecoboxx can be used for both camping and as a backup power supply at home was a definite crowd pleaser.”



It is exciting times for the world of solar, with the gathering of great momentum in both the interest and use of this renewable energy source.  Recent developments, over and above the solar project at our very own Black River Park, saw the Northern Cape receive a R 1.5bn solar energy boost expected to contribute significantly to the country’s rising energy demands.

Built on a 100-hectar site with more than 165,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels in operation, it will supply the Eskom 132 kV gridline and generate approximately 85 458 MW per year – more than enough to supply power to approximately 19,000 average homes per year.  Heralded as one of the first large solar farms in the country to be built by an independent power producer, the knock-on effect for the local community has seen as many as 500 jobs created during the peak of its construction.

“We firmly believe that solar is the way of the future,” comments Ryan Steytler, Director, The Sungrid Group.  “Not only does it provide a cost-effective, sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional methods, but as importantly it provides a viable solution for Africa’s pressing energy problems and seemingly never-ending price hikes.”

In addition to the 8% increase in electricity tariffs by Eskom over the last two years, earlier this year saw the announcement of a further 2 – 5% increase approved for the next year.  This is placing enormous pressure on already cash strapped consumers and businesses around the country.

“It is becoming increasingly clear, and urgent, that alternative solutions to our pressing energy crisis be explored,” concludes Steytler.

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Exciting news from Sir Richard Branson.  A world renowned entrepreneur and maverick, with a flair all of his own, Sir Richard seems to have a finger in most pies – from airlines to mobile to health clubs.
But latest news sees this English business magnate venturing into the realm of solar power.

Over and above his own research, which involves looking at ways in which to harness solar power to tow aircraft on the runway, Sir Richard is also the proud patron for the Solar Impulse Project – the first solar plane able to fly day and night without a single drop of fuel!

With successful test flights already behind them, Solar Impulse 2 will attempt the very first around the world solar flight in 2015.

As ambitious entrepreneurs, passionate about renewable energy, we salute Sir Richard and the Solar Impulse team and look forward to watching it literally take off.

For more information, please visit

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Voltex, a proudly Bidvest company and wholly owned subsidiary of the Bidvest Group Limited, is the latest addition to a fast growing list of retailers embracing the ‘Switch to Portable Solar Power’ campaign.  Voltex’s involvement will see the stocking of Ecoboxx 120, Ecoboxx 160 and WakaWaka products in both its Worcester and West Coast stores.

A leading stockist and reseller of a vast and comprehensive range of electrical and lighting products, Voltex is the largest electrical distributor in Southern Africa.  Its market covers many areas including commercial, industrial, residential and mining as well as energy efficiency.

“The inclusion of leading portable solar power products such as Ecoboxx and WakaWaka into the Voltex product offering was a natural fit and one which made perfect sense,” says Shawn Roets, Western Cape Regional Manager, Voltex.  “We are expecting great results and are excited to be able to offer these safe, sustainable, cost-effective and environmentally friendly products to our customers.”

“With 53 retail outlets nationwide we look forward to working with Voltex to expand our presence across South Africa, thereby continuing to grow the use of portable solar power countrywide,” concludes Ryan Steytler, Director, Sungrid Group.