When the sun goes down at 6pm in sub-Saharan Africa, 578 million people are living in darkness. There is no switch on the wall to turn on the light. There is no access to electricity. This is energy poverty.

Families have no choice but to rely on poor alternatives such as homemade torches, candles and kerosene lamps.

These alternatives are imperilling health, impairing education, wasting income and polluting the planet.

Worst of all, they are dangerous, and create countless tragic accidents across the continent.

But, it doesn’t have to be this way. There is a simple solution – solar lights.

Together, we can light up every home, school and clinic in Africa with clean, safe solar power by 2030.

42-year-old Nelia Mbewe point at a solar bulb at her home in Kachingwe Village, Kasungu central Malawi on Thursday 29 April 2021

We do charity differently

We have adopted a model where we create a local market which allows our solar lights to reach those places and the people that the traditional market do not reach. It gives our beneficiaries ownership over their lights. We believe in Trade not Aid.

Our Social Enterprise, SunnyMoney, was set up in 2008 and is one of the main sellers of solar lights in Africa. SunnyMoney Agents travel to remote rural communities to make clean light available where there were previously only unhealthy and expensive alternatives, like kerosene lamps and candles. They help instil trust and create demand in a new and unfamiliar technology – which helps build the foundations for a sustainable solar market and a lasting energy legacy.

Christine Mukuka is a SunnyMoney representative. She travel by bike to some of the countries most remotest places and sells solar lights for a small profit.

Learn More


The Power of Solar

Margaret John in Malawi selling fish after dark.

Solar Entrepreneurs

We believe the best way to make long-lasting change is through creating a local market. We do this by training and supporting entrepreneurs, known as Agents, to sell solar lights.

Bright Learning

By working with schools and their head teachers, we can build awareness, trust and demand for solar lights. This gives students the opportunity to well in school, creating brighter futures.

Powering Healthcare

Working together with local health partners, we are developing programmes which aim to distribute plug and play solar systems and handheld medical appliances.


  • 2.1M

    lights distributed worldwide.

  • 11M

    people in sub-Saharan Africa reached by clean, safe, affordable light.

  • 2.2M

    tonnes of CO2 emissions averted from the atmosphere.

About SolarAid

SolarAid is an international charity founded in 2006 to combat poverty and climate change. Through our social enterprise, SunnyMoney, we provide access to solar lights in Malawi and Zambia to help catalyse solar markets with renewable light.

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.