Collaborating with Kuyere on lowering the cost of solar equipment supply for ISEC

In this post I document the potential collaboration with Kuyere on lowering the cost of ISEC systems.

Kuyere is an ISEC provider in Malawi. You can read about our work at: and

We realize that the best way to lower the price of an ISEC in Malawi is by lowering the cost of the solar panels that the ISEC uses.

We are trying to create a scaleable system for lowering the cost of LONG LASTING solar parts to support ISECs and low-cost solar electric cooking as described in our recently published article.

This system involves getting low-interest loans to finance the low-overhead transportation and distribution of solar panels and other long-lasting materials and equipment as described in our recently published paper.

We are willing to collaborate with other members of the Cal Poly ISEC supergroup community to try to expand low-cost solar parts in support of solar electric cooking to other parts of Africa (and perhaps also the Caribbean).

The idea is that if we can collectively centralize the financing and management of container-scale shipments of such parts then it will be cheaper and more cost-effective than if we all do it individually. We are essentially become a de-facto “international distribution cooperative.”

I will try to post updates and progress regarding developments and progress regarding setting up and organizing this solar parts distribution collaborative in future posts.

Robert Van Buskirk
Kuyere/Innovating Generosity & Ecology

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My understanding is that initially the collaboration will include ISEC partners in the following countries: Togo, Cameroon, Uganda, and Jamaica.

The current tentative schedule for the collaboration is as follows:

Jan/Feb 2022: Explore parts and shipping costs.
Mar/Apr 2022: Make arrangements for initial test shipments
May to Aug 2022: Test shipments are sent, received and evaluated
Sept/Oct 2022: Make arrangements for 1-2 container-scale shipments based on which test shipments are the most successful.
2023: Send more containers based on a combination of repayments for first 1-2 containers and the ability to acquire additional low-interest loan financing for the collaboration.

Robert Van Buskirk

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Over the past week, I have been doing some research on current solar panel prices.

The results that I have so far is that for large solar panels (i.e. more than 60 cells per panel) should be obtainable at the factory door for about $0.17/watt, and that 100W solar panels should be available at the factory door for about $0.24/watt.

This means that we should be able to get the solar panels to the respective country port at container scale at about $0.25/W for large solar panels and for about $0.30/W for small solar panels. Then customs clearance, local logistics and clearance administration costs would need to be added to these values to get the whole delivered cost. This probably means that the delivered cost will be about $0.30/W for large solar panels and $0.35/W for smaller solar panels at container scale. Unless the government charges high fees and taxes for solar panels. Then the costs could be higher.

These costs should be compared to the local market prices to determine if it is likely to be profitable for the in-country partner to import solar panels through this collaboration.

Robert Van Buskirk

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It is profitable for us in Togo. The wholesale price is between 45 and 50 dollars now.

Thanks Salma: I think the offer will be as follows:

100W solar panels for about $30 each or
300W solar panels for about $75 each

Which ones will you prefer? The 100W solar panels or the 300W solar panels.

Hi Robert,
100W is movable so I prefer it.
Thank you.


Great. I hope to work out the details over the next month.