Small enough to fit in your hand, but powerful enough to provide nearly 600 million rural villagers in Africa with light, and it costs just $5. This brilliant little gadget was designed and developed by solar company Yingli Europe and a UK industrial design agency for SolarAid, a charity which combats poverty and climate change in Africa with solar power.
The little solar-powered device, about the same size as a smartphone, provides more than five hours of constant bright light. It can be used on a stand as a traditional desk light, hung on the wall, or attached to a strap to use as a headlamp.
This $5 solar light, design named SM100, lets kids do their homework after dark, and farmers herd their cows or milk their goats before dawn without using a polluting kerosene lamp, with its dangers to health and potential fires.
SolarAid’s objectives were to provide a tough, durable and inexpensive solar light for use in rural Africa, which meets Lighting Africa standards and retails for $5 in Africa, to make electrical light more accessible to the 598 million people in Africa who lack access to electricity.
SolarAid already has distributed nine thousand SM100s in Uganda, Malawi and Zambia through SolarAid’s social enterprise, SunnyMoney, which sell lights via school networks and local enterprises.
The small solar-powered device also makes sense for camping trips, and as an emergency light for storms.
Yingli Europe is a subsidiary of China’s Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited, one of the world’s leading solar panel manufacturers.
British-based SolarAid sells the SM100 for £10 in the UK, providing SolarAid with the funds to distribute two more SM100 lights in Africa for every one that is bought in the UK.
Don’t fret if you live outside the UK. Residents of the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada can donate in local currency, and residents of European Union countries can donate in Euros.
Spread some light today. Donate here.
“When I first started at SolarAid 10 years ago the lights we sold in Africa were $25 each. Over the last 10 years prices have come down and now SolarAid is proud to be launching what we believe is the world’s most affordable solar light on the market,” said Nick Sireau, CEO of SolarAid.
Yingli has committed to support SolarAid in their important mission to eradicate the kerosene lamp. “The SM100 will provide safe light to millions more families who live currently on less than 1.25$ per day. Not only will the lamp save lives but also support children’s’ education at home in the dark evenings and saving families money by avoiding the purchase of air polluting kerosene,” said Darren Thompson, Managing Director of Yingli Europe.
“We are pleased to provide SolarAid with a durable high quality solar light at the lowest price point possible that will help to transform the quality of life for millions of people that live without electricity. At Yingli we stand behind our mission – Affordable Green Energy for All.”
images courtesy SolarAid