The price of darkness

Candles, kerosene and poor quality batteries are expensive. Families have to buy these alternatives to electricity because they have no choice, not because they are cheap. In fact, the poorest people in the world are spending more on energy proportionately than anyone else on the planet. 

The true cost is hidden as each energy source is bought in small amounts when it can be afforded. As you will know, one candle does not last long. When it runs out, you need another. 

This cost adds up. The average rural family will spend 10% of their income on energy. This can increase to up to 25%. 

Lighting, however effective or dangerous, is clearly a priority for families yet there is no good alternative to grid electricity.

Health facilities have a similar problem. When there is no electricity, diesel is relied on. Struggling with budgets, the fuel has to be used sparingly and often runs out. This does not just mean there is no light, it means lifesaving health equipment cannot be used. 

A solar light changes everything. Sunshine is free. The biggest challenge is the upfront cost. This is why we do not just work to make solar lights available to families, schools and health facilities, we innovate models and financing mechanisms to make the most affordable solar products even more affordable. 

With a solar light, families start to save money for the first time. These savings are most commonly spent on food, school and business. The cycle of poverty can be broken. For institutions, such as health facilities, they can stay open during the night and ensure their equipment can stay on 24 hours a day. 

A solar light saves money. 

"My business is booming because funds that were spent on buying paraffin are now used to buy computer accessories and I charge my phone using solar to communicate with customers."
Gilbert Mwalwanda, Malawi

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