The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Solar Philanthropy: Five Groups Using Solar to End Energy Poverty

Approximately 1.3 billion people live without regular access to energy. People are forced to use fuels that pollute and cause respiratory illnesses, like kerosene and biomass, and spend long hours time collecting fuel. It is a global crisis that is harming the health and well-being of people in the developing world, in addition to harming the planet.

Ending energy poverty is about more than helping people see at night — it’s about economic opportunity, safer and healthier communities, better educational opportunities and connection to the rest of the world.

A number of organizations are working to bring solar-powered energy solutions to the developing world. Solar power is the best alternative because it doesn’t require any prior infrastructure or use of existing resources. It’s safe for nighttime light, and can generate power for other uses, such as charging cell phones or powering medical equipment.

Below is a look at a handful of the many organizations working to end energy poverty using solar power.

1 Liter of Light

Isang Litrong Liwanag, or 1 Liter of Light, uses the Solar Bottle Light design – a cheap, sustainable, light bulb alternative – to light buildings during the day around the world.

The Solar Bottle Light requires a one-liter plastic bottle, bleach, and a bottle-shaped hole in the roof. The plastic bottle is filled with a mixture of water, and bleach. It’s then capped, sealed, and placed in the hole halfway below and halfway above the roof. The water inside the bottle refracts and disperses sunlight, giving the bottle the power of a 50-60 watt light bulb. 

The design was pioneered by Alfredo Moser, a mechanic in Sao Paulo, who needed to light his workshop when his neighborhood suffered a long cut in electricity in 2002. Since then, students from MIT have worked with 1 Liter of Light to help develop the design further.

Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF)

SELF, a DC-based non-profit, grew out of an organization that sought to illuminate rural India in the 1990s. Since then, the company has installed solar electric systems in places including Benin, Lesotho, Burundi, Kenya and, most notably, Haiti, where the organization created systems that power 11 health care facilities and a hospital run by the NGO Partners In Health. Through this installation, the organization has improved the quality of medical services for over 170,000 Haitians by powering lights, microscopes, vaccine refrigerators and other lifesaving equipment with renewable energy.

Solar Sister

Solar Sister is a social enterprise committed to eradicating energy poverty by encouraging economic development. Solar Sister gives women entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow a sustainable business selling solar products. The organization reinvests any profits back into their network of entrepreneurs, creating a sustainable business with a positive impact on the environment and the community.

We Care Solar

WE CARE Solar is a non-profit organization that manufactures the Solar Suitcase, a portable solar system, for health clinics. The Solar Suitcase is easy to use and is designed to be used at night when emergency health care is needed. The suitcase comes with highly efficient medical lighting, as well as power for mobile communication, computers, and medical devices. To date, the design has been used in almost 200 clinics in 17 countries, including Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, and South Sudan.

Project Surya

To replace the highly polluting cooking stoves traditionally used in rural areas, Project Surya invented a stove that requires less than half as much biomass fuel, and emits less greenhouse gases. The improved stove has a solar lamp and a solar-panel powered fan to improve combustion. The project will help divert black carbon, methane, and ozone from the environment. In addition, because exposure to traditional biomass fuel can cause upper respiratory complications, low birth weight, eye diseases, and even blindness, replacing the stoves with clean technology is expected to improve public health.

This article was originally published on ecomagination and was republished with permission.

Lead image: A Solar Bottle Light, courtesy 1 Liter of Light.

RELATED ARTICLES

Renewable Energy Finance

Clean Energy ETFs Are on a Tear

Eric Balchunas, Bloomberg Green investing used to be synonymous with losing money. But while the S&P 500 Index is up 2 percent this year, and the MSCI All-Country World Index is up 5 percent, clean energy ETFs have double-digit re...

Wheels, Towers and Trees: Unconventional Renewable Energy Technologies in the Pipeline

Andrew Williams, International Correspondent A number of companies around the world are developing novel technologies in an effort to grab a slice of the global renewable energy market.  Although many of these technologies are simple incremental improvements to e...
UK Parliament Clean Energy Leaders

UK Government Names Clean Energy Cabinet Members

David Appleyard, Contributing Editor With the UK general election now over and a majority Conservative Party government in place, the re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron has now named key members of the government charged with steering the UK’s clean energ...
Microgrids

Coast to Coast and Across the Electric System, Microgrids Provide Benefits to All

Dick Munson, Environmental Defense Fund At the most obvious level, microgrids could disrupt today’s utilities and their regulated-monopoly business model, because they challenge the centralized paradigm. In a nutshell, microgrids are localized power grids that ha...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

03/01/2015
Volume 18, Issue 3
file

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

EU PVSEC 2015 (European PV Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition)

The EU PVSEC is the largest international Conference for Photovoltaic re...

Sponsor/Exhibitor: MIREC Week 2015

Solectria, Pillar, and Variadores together are co-Silver Sponsors! Come ...

More Power, More Profit Tour - San Diego

Register for the SMA More Power, More Profit Tour for free, in-person sa...

COMPANY BLOGS

EU PVSEC 2014: Call for Papers Receives Great Response

More than 1,500 contributions apply for presentation in AmsterdamScienti...

EU PVSEC 2014 extends its Scope

Added focus on application and policy topicsAbstracts for conference con...

Boulder County Residents Generate Their Own Energy with Community S...

Despite a soggy afternoon, solar energy advocates gathered at ...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS