Afnan Hannan, CEO and co-founder of Okra Solar, has been awarded 2021 ANU Young Alumnus of the Year.
Hanan graduated in 2014, from a double Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Commerce degree.
In 2016, along with a small team from across the globe, he set out to solve the issue of delivering power to houses in remote communities that do not have direct access to electricity. Now, Okra Solar is a world-leading company delivering electricity to rural households across countries in Southeast Asia.
Recognising solar energy as the best option for these communities, the team at Okra Solar designed solar grids that would accumulate energy from multiple solar panels to provide stronger and more reliable access to electricity.
The company enables people in regional communities to develop and grow their skills and help their communities by providing them the tools they need through technology. “Wouldn’t it be so much nicer if all the people in these countries have access to electricity, internet, and they can come up with their own ideas for local challenges?”, Hannan asks in a video interview recognising him for the Young Alumnus award.Today, more than 2,000 people across Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines access clan and affordable energy sourced from Okra.
The CECS alumnus told ANU reporter that his higher-education experience helped prepare him for the startup world: “I think my time at ANU was a period of me building a bunch of knowledge – fundamentals, how engineering and electronics work, as well as markets, motivations and the economic side of things.”
Hannan has seen Okra Solar expand into five countries in just a few years. His goal is to make information available to everyone, ‘democratising opportunities through technology’. As he told ANU reporter, “we see a future where 10 or 15 years from now all these people in emerging market economies are learning online and getting as many opportunities, if not more, as people who have the privilege to go to ANU.”
To learn more about Okra Solar and the incredible work being done, visit okrasolar.com.