At Just $5, This Solar Lamp is the Most Affordable in the World
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
When is the last time that a $5 gadget literally changed your life? OK, other than the banana slicer, that is…
Most, if not all, of us have ready access to lighting anytime we need it, for as long as we need it, wherever we need it, thanks to a reliable electricity grid and lighting infrastructure in our homes and businesses, along with relatively affordable batteries and battery chargers for flashlights and other portable lighting solutions. But there are still millions of people on the planet for whom basic clean lighting is a luxury, with the only other alternatives being kerosene, candles, or fire, all of which come at a cost, both in terms of money and in air quality, and to whom a clean reliable way to light up a room can make all the difference.
Solar lights can be that clean illumination source in the developing world, and we’ve seen a number of different designs being touted as the answer to some of the issues of energy poverty around the world, with a small solar panel and a battery and LED bulb supplying several years’ worth of clean light. Designing for the off-grid developing world presents a lot of challenges, including the need for rugged and reliable construction that can stand up to the wear and tear of daily use in harsh environmental conditions, but one of the standard criteria is also to have an affordable price to the end user.