No one left behind

For people in sub-Saharan Africa, grid electrification is a long way off, forcing many to use dangerous and expensive alternatives like candles, kerosene, and battery-powered torches.

Despite the rapid growth of the off-grid sector in the last 10 years, one question remains at the forefront:

How do we reach those left behind?

Rural areas and those in the hardest to reach places are often the first to be forgotten. Private companies will not reach these communities because of the lack of profitable opportunities there.

This is why we focus on reaching rural, last-mile communities.

Those without access to electricity

Map of Zambia & Malawi
  • 86%

    Rural Zambia

  • 93.4%

    Rural Malawi

Last mile entrepreneurs

We help people like Penny Mupeta set-up solar businesses so he can support his family and his community. His village, Chipandwe, is 26km from the nearest town making it very difficult for people to learn about new technologies like solar lights.

“Before having solar lights, we were using paraffin and if no one passes through to sell or travelled to town to buy paraffin, we would sleep in the dark.” – Penny Mupeta

Penny places his solar light on the roof to charge

With the support of SolarAid, Penny learnt all about the benefits of solar lights and now, he not only has lighting in his own home, but he sells light to members of his community as well. With his average customer living 16km away from his home, his SolarAid bicycle allows him to reach more rural villages to make sure everyone in his region has the opportunity to benefit from solar lights.

Penny packs his bicycle at the start of the day

End-user subsidies

Even the most affordable solar lights, costing about $5 are far too expensive for many rural customers. To make sure everyone can afford to buy a solar light, we subsidise the cost of the products.

You may wonder why SolarAid’s lights aren’t completely free?

As a customer, you have rights that are essential to build trust in products and make sure that any broken lights can be repaired and replaced. People who buy solar lights are more likely to take good care of them and in the long-term, the demand for off-grid energy products grow, and more solar businesses enter the market.

Our first end-user subsidy trial was a huge success, allowing many people to take their first step on the energy ladder. The pilot resulted in our usual annual sales figures being achieved in just two months! Since then, we’ve been working hard to scale this model and deliver it in rural communities across the region so that no one gets left behind.

Mirriam holds her solar lights as she looks towards camera

No one left behind

These models mean that small solar lights can have an instant impact. Not only do they represent the first step on the road to a cleaner, safer, renewable future but they mean families can start saving money on lighting. Switching on a solar light means a family can stop using dirty fuels and candles and create a brighter future for themselves.

Ways to support


Whether it's a single or regular gift, together we can End the Darkness.