Over 1 billion people worldwide still lack access to electricity, with kerosene lamps still being the main source of lighting in large parts of the developing world. This lighting is dangerous, causes many health problems, is environmentally destructive, and is also very expensive to what are some of the world’s poorest people. And because many of these people live in remote areas, connecting them up to the national electricity grid is not really an option.
Fortunately, solar-powered lighting offers a way out of this quandary; and its rise is now empowering millions of people across the world, by offering a source of lighting which is more affordable, and has none of the health problems and environmental damage associated with kerosene lamps.
Moreover, solar lamps allow people to continue economic and education opportunities into the night, which increases their chances of escaping from poverty. And solar lighting even increases safety, because these lamps allow you to safely walk around at night and feel more secure while out on the streets during the evenings.
Several trailblazing for-profit companies are behind this revolution, having cleverly developed business models that enable some of the most vulnerable people on the planet to purchase solar-powered lighting for their own personal use.
For example, a company by the name of Mobisol is bringing solar home lighting to Rwanda and Tanzania. Similarly, SimpaNetworks, whose customers are situated in rural India, allows people to but into a scheme where they gradually pay for their own personal solar unit that they can use to provide lighting to their homes. Numerous other companies are also tirelessly working to get solar-powered lighting to the world’s poor, whether it’s by inventing solar lighting units that can be used by the individual household, or marketing and making such products accessible to consumers in the developing world.
But what exactly is it about solar lighting that’s so wonderful, and how is it empowering people across the world?
To start with, these lights are totally independent of the grid or any other power supply, ALL they need is to be exposed to sunlight and they will effortlessly convert it into energy that households and businesses can utilize as light.
They are also far cheaper than kerosene lamps. Just think of all the resources that are freed up to the world’s poor if the money they currently spend on kerosene lights, including to clean up its associated environmental and health problems, could be directed to health care, education, etc.
Finally, affordable and efficient solar lighting enables people in developing countries to continue educational and income-generating activities into the night, thus enhancing their prospects of escaping poverty and earning a good livelihood. What’s more, the greater the number of consumers that get involved with solar, the more the price of solar lights go down, and the more affordable it becomes to the world’s poorest people.
Solar-powered lighting is empowering more and more people across the globe, each and every day. The future is indeed looking brighter, in several senses of the word.