What is the impact of 2 million solar lamps?
Solarcentury’s mission is to make a positive difference to climate chaos through the widespread adoption of solar energy. In order to achieve this goal, we have various methods, including an annual donation of 5% of net profits to SolarAid. SolarAid is a development organisation that aims to combat poverty and climate change by replacing kerosene lamps in Africa with solar lamps. In July, they supplied the 2 millionth solar lamp to a family in East Africa. Since their launch in 2006, Solarcentury has donated more than €1.4 million to SolarAid with its annual contribution and with the help of volunteers.
Here, Solarcentury’s Kristina Ivanova goes into detail about the impact of solar lights.
No access to electricity
More than 840 million people worldwide do not have access to electricity, nearly 600 million of which are in Africa. The absence of electricity causes a barrier to further economic development. Without electricity there is no clean source of light, forcing people to rely on dangerous, environmentally unfriendly, expensive and often homemade kerosene lamps. These lamps form a poor and extremely dangerous light source, which emits toxic smoke and is harmful to health and the environment. Due to the high price that has to be paid for these kerosene lamps, poor families have to forgo 15% of their income.
The SolarAid solution
In 2006, Jeremy Leggett (founder of Solarcentury) founded SolarAid with the idea that emerging solar technologies could provide a solution to the environmental, health and economic barriers caused by lack of access to electricity. Lighting generated by solar energy changes everything. These lamps are safe, clean and affordable. They emit hours of light, allowing people to continue working or learning in the evenings, and feel safer. Only one lamp can change the future of an entire family, and is the first step to an Africa that is fully electrified. Since its foundation, Solarcentury has been donating 5% of its net profits to SolarAid every year.
The impact of 2 million solar lamps
SolarAid founded the social enterprise SunnyMoney to distribute the two million lamps to more than ten million people across six countries. They now have access to safe, environmentally friendly and affordable lighting. This saves more than 327 million euros in fuel costs for the poorest families in the world. The lamps provided two billion extra study hours for children. And almost six million people experience better health conditions as a result. The two million lamps have also prevented more than 21 million tonnes of CO2 emissions from entering our atmosphere. SolarAid has delivered over 900,000 of the two million lamps in Tanzania. Other important areas are Kenya, Malawi and Zambia.
Sustainable Development Goal 7
Despite initiatives by governments, companies, non-profit organisations, and foundations such as SolarAid, there has been insufficient progress made to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7), the sustainable development goal set by the United Nations to achieve universal access to affordable and clean energy by 2030. Recent research shows that by 2030, more than 650 million people worldwide will still not have access to electricity. SolarAid therefore continues to invest its energy in the further distribution of its solar lamps so that even in the most remote areas no school, no hospital, no one is left in the dark.
John Keane, SolarAid CEO: “We are extremely grateful for this generous donation from Solarcentury. Since the first day, Solarcentury has always supported us, both with volunteers and with positive thinking, and with a total contribution of more than € 1.4 million. To secure our fight against poverty and climate change and to take the necessary measures to ensure that everyone in Africa has access to clean, sustainable energy and lighting, we need more progressive companies such as Solarcentury. No one should be left in the dark by 2030. “