In August  2013, The Coca-Cola Company, in partnership with DEKA R&D and NRG, launched the  first EKOCENTER™ pilot site, in Heidelberg, South Africa, delivering clean, safe drinking water and other basic necessities to the local community. EKOCENTERs are off-the-grid, modularly designed kiosks with a solar panel awning, transformed from a 20-foot shipping container into an open-air hub of community activity, to provide safe drinking water, wireless communication, electricity and other functionality to jump-start entrepreneurship opportunities and community development.

The South African EKOCENTER is initially operating with a SlingshotTM water purification system, power source and commercial space, with the ability to add other services based on community needs. The prototype is powered by a Stirling electric generator and solar panels, both provided by NRG, one of the United States’ largest power generation and retail electricity businesses and the project’s official energy provider partner.

Located on the ground of Coca-Cola’s Valpre natural spring water bottling plant, the EKOCENTER pilot elevates our Slingshot initiative by introducing a training facility for bottling partners, women and young entrepreneurs as we test this program for future expansion. The project supports our global commitment to replenish the water used in our beverages and their production, and to empower people and communities through employment.