Many household electronic devices — flashlights, stereos, radios — require AA, AAA, C, and D size batteries. These batteries are often disposable in remote areas of the world that lack access to grid electricity. In parts of the globe, disposable batteries can account for over 50% of household energy expenditures and amount to 25 or more batteries disposed of per person per year. This amounts to more than 25,000 batteries annually for a village of 1000 people. Solutions to this problem can address economic and environmental concerns. Replacing disposable batteries with rechargeable batteries maintained by a local entrepreneur is one business-driven method to reduce environmental waste and household energy expenditures. This study evaluates technical options for providing rechargeable batteries to a decentralized population, and introduces a prototype portable charging kit that addresses the techno-economic requirements of charging batteries, delivering batteries at a reasonable cost to consumers, providing a profit margin for local entrepreneurs, and allowing for portability during travel between villages or refugee camps. The unit includes a solar PV power source, a lead-acid battery for intermediate energy storage, a battery charger equipped with single cell batteries, a charge controller to manage power flow, and a protective suitcase to house the equipment.

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