A British charity and a Chinese solar panel manufacturer joined forces to launch “the world’s most affordable solar light”. At only five dollars apiece, the SM100 could help eradicate kerosene lamps and associated health threats.
If you live in the Northern hemisphere, chances are that you just switched to winter time or are about to do so in the next few days. As the weather gets chillier and the days get shorter, it’s easy to get grumpy when the sun sets ridiculously early. But at least we can turn the light on in our apartments and houses and move on with our lives.
Close to 600 million people in Africa live without access to electricity. That means that when the sun goes down, people have to turn to other sources of light (such as kerosene lamps) to be able to function. Besides the inconvenience of not being able to flip a switch to have light, these alternatives often come with serious health risks, and prevent disadvantaged people from effectively pursuing activities (e.g. studying, working) that could help them improve their situation.
“The lack of access to electricity for at least 1.2 billion people (many of whom then use kerosene lamps for lighting) exposes households to very high levels of fine particulate matter, as well introduces other health risks, e.g. burns, injuries and poisonings from fuel ingestion, constraining other opportunities for health and development, e.g. studying or engaging in small crafts and trades, which require adequate lighting.”
UK-based SolarAid has been trying to solve this problem by selling solar lamps for the past decade. However, cost was always a limiting factor. Even the cleanest off-grid lamp is useless if the target customers can’t afford it. The charity partnered with solar panel manufacturer Yingli Solar and launched the SM100. SolarAid CEO Nick Sireau things that this new, cheap solar lamp “will help us to eradicate the kerosene lamp for good.”
For people with access to electricity, SM100 can still come in handy for camping trips and festivals. The SM100 cost 10 GBP in the UK, which helps subsidise the sale of the lamps at an ultra-low cost in Africa. Click here to get yours and help give light to a family living off-grid.