Around the world approximately 1.7 billion people still live off the grid, with no access to mains electricity. This comes with numerous problems, with lighting and access to income among the most pressing.
Once the sun goes does down those off the grid are reliant on kerosene, which is not only hazardous but expensive.
While mobile phone use is widespread off the grid, recharging can be a difficult process requiring a long journey, and the lack of charge can mean restricted access to business opportunities or basic services.
Solar power could have a major role in solving these problems and others, with a number of new products aimed at improving conditions and opportunities for those in off the grid, base of the pyramid markets. Some are being directly marketed to developing nations, while some have applications with the potential to make a difference worldwide.
A number of these companies owe their success to crowdfunding campaigns, highlighting the role that the general public have to play in ensuring that such projects, with sustainability applications for both developing and developed nations, get further than the planning stages.
Here ‘s an example of solar power innovations aiming to make a difference to those living off the grid.
The Waka Waka solar light is the brainchild of Dutch product developer, Camille van Gestel. A successful crowdfunding campaign in 2012 saw the Waka Waka light go into mass-production, with 75,000 having been shipped around the world to date. The product itself provides 80 hours of light after one day of charge, offering an alternative to the kerosine lamp. A second Kickstarter campaign allowed the Waka Waka Power to go into production, combing the original light with a solar battery charger. The company ran a ‘buy one give one’ campaign, in which every sale saw a unit sent to Haiti, reaching an estimated 50,000 people.
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