Solar lamps light up more African nights

Solar lamps are shining more brightly in Africa, tackling poverty, ill-health and natural hazards, thanks to Chinese industrialists and a UK-based charity.

LONDON, 5 June, 2017 With 600 million people in Africa still without electricity and relying on expensive kerosene for lighting, the invention of a new high-quality solar light gives hope for a better quality of life for the poorest people of the continent.

And with solar light design and quality constantly improving and prices falling, a brighter future is more affordable – and can even turn a profit for householders.

The new £4 ($5) lamp now on offer in parts of East Africa was created by Inventid, a company based in Manchester, UK, and has undergone trials with 9,000 families in Malawi, Uganda and Zambia. The SM100, as it is called, is now being made in China by the solar giant Yingli and distributed in Africa by the charity SolarAid

The lamp is small enough to be used as a hand torch or a bicycle lamp, and has a stand which lets it be used as a table lamp or overhead light. It is tough enough to survive being dropped, or drenched in rain.

SolarAid, which has been pioneering the sale of solar lamps to poor communities in Africa since 2006, says the new model gives twice the light of a kerosene lamp and and, over its five-year guaranteed lifetime, saves a ton of carbon dioxide for each kerosene light it replaces. 

Cash generator

Although it is a charity, rather than give the lamps away SolarAid prefers to sell them at cost, creating trade in the economy. Each lamp sold at £4 generates £145 in cash for food and essentials in East Africa, it says.

Jeremy Leggett, founding director of SolarAid, says there are not many social-benefit paybacks as good as this in the world today: “We know that much of the money saved is spent on food and seeds. This is a great way to help people help themselves while famine stalks the continent.” 

Most people without electricity in Africa live on less than $1 a day, and buying kerosene takes up around 15% of their annual income. The SM100 runs at full power for up to eight hours when fully charged, and will also charge mobile phones.

As well as helping people escape from poverty, the lamps also help to improve their health; kerosene fumes damage eyes and lungs. The light also allows children to study after dark.

“One thing I hadn’t realised before I went to Africa is what a danger snakes are at night. With a solar light, you have a chance to see them

But Leggett says it is the light itself that makes the real difference. “Seeing the faces of Africans who witness a solar light being turned on for the first time in a hut at night, as I have, is a highly emotional experience.

“We often forget how lucky we are in the rich nations – how much we take for granted. One thing I hadn’t realised before I went to Africa is what a danger snakes are at night. With a solar light, you have a chance to see them.

“There are so many other benefits. It is thrilling to think that our lights address almost all the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

So far SolarAid has sold 1.9 million solar lights to Africa and hopes that this cheaper, later version will be even more successful. One of the problems is that some countries, for example Uganda and Malawi, tax solar lights, making them less affordable for the poor.

“In my view this is short-sighted, because the price has to be passed on to the consumer, meaning fewer lights will be sold, meaning reductions in the cash freed up by savings on the  kerosene which is no longer needed”, says Leggett.

Price of a drink

“Those savings, spent in the local economy, would help the governments build a healthy economy much more than the taxes they raise.” When the Climate News Network last wrote about solar lights for Africa in February 2015, SolarAid was asking companies to donate 5% of their profits to the scheme. It now needs more help to reach more of the 600 million Africans without electricity. “To get solar lights out to the frontier areas where we work, SolarAid is currently overdependent on increasingly impossible-to-predict and precarious donations from large organisations,” Leggett says. He is asking all his friends, and many other people besides, to donate £4 a month – “the price of a drink – to pay for one light a month for Africa. – Climate News Network

Economics

This article originally appeared on Climate News Network

enafarzh-CNzh-TWdanltlfifrdeiwhihuiditjakomsnofaplptruesswsvthtrukurvi

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

LATEST VIDEOS

can we cool the planet 7 22
Can We Cool The Planet?
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
Climate change has emerged as one of the most pressing challenges of our time. Over the past century, human activities…
i5w7rk3a
The Devastating Impact of 3C Global Warming
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
Global warming is a pressing issue that poses severe threats to our planet and all its inhabitants. In recent years,…
The Great Climate Migration Has Begun
The Great Climate Migration Has Begun
by Super User
The climate crisis is forcing thousands around the world to flee as their homes become increasingly uninhabitable.
The Last Ice Age Tells Us Why We Need To Care About A 2℃ Change In Temperature
The Last Ice Age Tells Us Why We Need To Care About A 2℃ Change In Temperature
by Alan N Williams, et al
The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that without a substantial decrease…
The Caspian Sea Is Set To Fall By 9 Metres Or More This Century
The Caspian Sea Is Set To Fall By 9 Metres Or More This Century
by Frank Wesselingh and Matteo Lattuada
Imagine you are on the coast, looking out to sea. In front of you lies 100 metres of barren sand that looks like a…
Five Climate Disbeliefs: A Crash Course In Climate Misinformation
The Five Climate Disbeliefs: A Crash Course In Climate Misinformation
by John Cook
This video is a crash course in climate misinformation, summarizing the key arguments used to cast doubt on the reality…
The Arctic Hasn't Been This Warm For 3 Million Years and That Means Big Changes For The Planet
The Arctic Hasn't Been This Warm For 3 Million Years and That Means Big Changes For The Planet
by Julie Brigham-Grette and Steve Petsch
Every year, sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean shrinks to a low point in mid-September. This year it measures just 1.44…
What Is A Hurricane Storm Surge and Why Is It So Dangerous?
What Is A Hurricane Storm Surge and Why Is It So Dangerous?
by Anthony C. Didlake Jr
As Hurricane Sally headed for the northern Gulf Coast on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, forecasters warned of a…

LATEST ARTICLES

global boiling is here 7 29
U.N. Warns: The Era of Global Boiling Has Arrived
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
The world faces an unprecedented climate crisis as temperatures soar and heat records are shattered across the globe.
amoc map 7 26
The Unseen Tipping Point: Understanding the Potential Impact of an AMOC Shutdown
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
The Unseen Tipping Point: Understanding the Potential Impact of an AMOC Shutdown Have you ever heard of the Atlantic…
can we cool the planet 7 22
Can We Cool The Planet?
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
Climate change has emerged as one of the most pressing challenges of our time. Over the past century, human activities…
global hungry 7 22
The Rising Tide of Global Hunger: Pandemic, Climate & Conflict Fuel Food Insecurity
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
In recent years, the world has witnessed a distressing surge in global hunger, painting a bleak picture of food…
keeping cool 7 20
Beat the Heat: Your Guide to Staying Safe in Extreme Temperatures
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
As the temperatures rise during the summer months, it's important to be aware of the risks associated with extreme heat.
i5w7rk3a
The Devastating Impact of 3C Global Warming
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
Global warming is a pressing issue that poses severe threats to our planet and all its inhabitants. In recent years,…
how hot is too hot 7 19
How Hot is Too Hot? The Risks of Extreme Heat on the Human Body
by W. Larry Kenney, Penn State et al
The answer goes beyond the temperature you see on the thermometer. It’s also about humidity. Our research is designed…
european heatwave 7 18
European Heatwave: What’s Causing It And Is Climate Change To Blame?
by Emma Hill and Ben Vivian, Coventry University
Europe is currently in the midst of a heatwave. Italy, in particular, is expected to face blistering heat, with…

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that without a substantial decrease in our use of fossil fuels, we are on track for a global average increase of...

By Elisa Raffa, Fox 46 Charlotte and Charles Wohlforth—Climate Central

  Coral reefs have long been regarded as one of the earliest and most significant ecological casualties of global warming.

Peatlands, such as fens, bogs, marshes and swamps, cover just 3% of the Earth’s total land surface, yet store over one-third of the planet’s soil carbon. That’s more than the carbon stored in all...

While the days of overt climate denial are mostly over, there’s a distinct form of denial emerging in its stead. You may have experienced it and not even realised. It’s called implicatory denial

The Unseen Tipping Point: Understanding the Potential Impact of an AMOC Shutdown Have you ever heard of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation or AMOC? Don't worry if you haven't!...


 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.