About SolarAid

SolarAid is an international charity, founded in 2006 to combat poverty and climate change. We provide access to solar lights in Malawi and Zambia to help catalyse solar markets and eradicate the kerosene lamp.

The Problem

598 million people in Africa alone have no access to electricity. Without electricity families have no clean source of light, leaving millions to rely on expensive and dangerous alternatives.

Many use homemade kerosene lamps which are a poor source of light; they emit toxic black smoke, eat up to 15% of a family’s income and are extremely hazardous.

Children can’t study at night, the working day ends prematurely and indoor air pollution presents a serious health hazard.

Photo by Corrie Wingate

solar lights

Photo by Corrie Wingate

The Solution

With a solar light, everything changes. These little lamps are safe, clean and affordable. They give off hours of light in the evening so families can earn, learn and feel safe after dark. Just one lamp can transform the fortunes of an entire family and is the first step on an energy ladder to full electrification.

They are not the answer to all life’s energy problems, but they are available right now, and will ensure the very poorest can begin to develop and prosper without having to wait for a grid system that may never come.

Why we sell lights

We are pioneering a truly sustainable model. We created a social enterprise, SunnyMoney, who sell lights via school networks and local enterprises. But why sell them you ask? Well, in short, it allows money to be reinvested back into our work, encourages job creation and ensures money stays in the local economy.

With increasing demand for solar, other players begin to enter the market creating more access than ever before. We are establishing a market that will reach far beyond the lights that SunnyMoney sell. A market that will eventually light up an entire continent and leave a lasting energy legacy.

So why a charity and not just a business?

To put it simply, we can do things that conventional businesses can’t. We take the time to travel to remote rural communities, educate people about the benefits of solar, instil trust and build demand. All of which costs time and money. We help get lights to the people that need them most – and if they are unable to afford them – then we think of new and innovative ways to help them get on the energy ladder, such as pay as you go solar. It currently costs us around £4 for each solar light we sell, which is why we need your support.

If we were a conventional business driven by profit, rather than impact, we would continue to ignore the needs of those who need better energy access more than anyone. But there isn’t much that is conventional about us, which is no doubt why you’re here.

Our Finances

A donation to SolarAid is one of the best value gifts on the planet. Check out our impact calculator to see just how far your donation will stretch.

Visit our Charity Commisions page for more information.

  • For every £1 spent 90p goes on charitable work
  • For every £1 you donate £2 more is generated thanks to our social enterprise SunnyMoney
  • Covering the £4 cost to SolarAid of a solar light will save a family living below the poverty line about £130

SolarAid is registered with the Fundraising Regulator.