How Solar Lighting Powers The World Today | Simply Solar
By: Arthur Smith of LEDwatcher
According to the United Nations, about 1.2 billion people around the world live without access to electricity. In fact, most of these individuals rely on dangerous lighting sources, like kerosene lamps. Some of these sources pose immediate health risks, such as burns, poisoning, asphyxiation.  As most of these individuals in remote areas, there is little prospect of getting them connected to their national grids. Instead they rely on kerosene lamps and other highly dangerous lighting sources – sources that pose immediate risks to safety like burns, poisoning, asphyxiation, and explosions, but also cause a multitude of longer term health issues resulting from prolonged exposure to toxic gases. Kerosene gas is also very expensive to the world’s poorest people, and harms the environment with all the pollutants, and greenhouse gases, that it releases.Fortunately, several trailblazing for profit companies are now working to address this less than ideal situation – developing business models that enable the world’s most vulnerable people to purchase solar powered lighting, and thereby drastically improve their lives. SimpaNetworks is an example of one such company. Its customers, who live in rural India, buy into a solar PV solar scheme whereby they progressively pay for the right to own their own solar unit, which can be used to power LED lighting in their homes. Several other companies are also working on getting solar energy to the world’s energy poor  by developing innovative outdoor solar lights, and marketing them to potential consumers in developing countries. The Luci, marketed across the developed world as a solar powered camping light, uses its huge sales to the world’s wealthier people to keep costs down that so the lights are also affordable in developing countries. And donations given to the company support several non-profit groups the company collaborates with to supply lights to under-served groups in the developing world.

But what’s so great about solar lights? And how are they empowering the world’s poor? To begin with, these small scale solar lights work by absorbing energy from the sun during the day, storing it in a form that can be utilized as light in one’s house when it gets dark. This is a far cheaper lighting option over the long run than kerosene lamps. Imagine the benefits to consumers if they could spend the money currently spent on kerosene lighting and its associated health and environmental problems, on education, business ventures, or health care. Moreover, efficient and affordable solar lighting enables people in the developing world to continue income generating and educational activities at night, thus increasing their chances of climbing out of poverty and earning a decent livelihood. Solar lighting is already working to empower millions of people all around the world as we speak.
The good news is that the more consumers jump on the solar bandwagon, the more the price of solar lighting goes down, and the more accessible it becomes to poorer consumers. It’s a virtuous circle. The future looks bright indeed.


About the author
Arthur Smith is the main editor of LEDwatcher.com, a blog about energy efficiency, renewable energy, lighting and so much more. With having worked in both solar and lighting industries for many years now, Arthur knows the ins and outs of these topics. And now he has turned to blogging, to help others better understand solar power, lighting and how important renewable energy is for our future.