SolarAid Malawi, Chilumba, Malawi

SolarAid is an innovative, award-winning and fast-growing charity that aims to enable the world’s poorest people to have access to clean, renewable power. SolarAid operates Sunny Money, an innovative social enterprise that sells small-scale solar products such as solar lamps, solar radios and solar chargers for mobile phones through Eastern and Southern Africa. SolarAid also installs solar systems on community centres, medical clinics, schools and other such communal infrastructure.
 
A solar lamp does more than shine a light. A solar lamp protects the environment and transforms lives. 598 million off-grid Africans have no access to electricity and many rely on toxic kerosene for lighting. These brutal lamps emit noxious black smoke and burn up to 20% of the household income - locking millions into poverty. By contrast solar lights cost as little as $10, pay for themselves after 12 weeks and last for five years. Having free, clean light and not wasting money on kerosene transforms peoples’ chances in life.
 
The STRATEGY behind SolarAid is:

Selling solar lights in remote communities where there is little trust or knowledge of solar, poor infrastructure and only basic retail networks is an expensive and difficult challenge. Businesses are naturally unwilling to gamble on such an unknown product.
 
SunnyMoney is taking the risk and creating the momentum within the market so that local entrepreneurs can make a successful business out of selling solar lights. As people begin to trust the technology, more solar lamps are bought, costs fall and a thriving industry begins to take shape, attracting other organisations. As each region reaches a solar ‘tipping point’, local entrepreneurs take over and a permanent market is established. Jobs are created, solar lights become commonplace and more and more people are able to buy their way out of fuel poverty.
 
SunnyMoney can then focus on another region, then another – catalysing the pico solar market across the continent. SolarAid supports this growth, encouraging innovation and collaboration.
That’s progress and aid combined: 21st century style.
 
How SolarAid MAKES IT HAPPEN:

To give people access to solar lamps and inspire trust in the technology, SunnyMoney engages local communities through the schools’ network. By working with respected head teachers, their local teams are able to spread the message that solar lights are affordable, free up money spent on kerosene, and have health and educational benefits.
 
Head teachers are keen to help SunnyMoney precisely because they see the incredible impact the lights have on the lives of their students and their families.

Please see their website for more information: www.solar-aid.org / www.sunnymoney.org