THE PROBLEM: Everyday, 2 billion people are exposed to complete darkness as a result of insufficient or nonexistent access to electricity. 2 million of those individuals often result to using paraffin lanterns or candles, which are detrimental to their health and often use 25% of their income for one hour of light. Not only is this light source not sustainable economically, it also spews 190 million tonnes of C02 into the atmosphere. (Statistics: The Lightie website)
THE CHALLENGE: Reliable electricity is an enormous infrastructure challenge that can take years to implement. In the short term, how can individuals lacking reliable energy sources gain access to a light source at an affordable cost? Why are current solar light designs not reaching these populations en mass?
THE INSIGHT: Bottled drinks are distributed globally. What if a small solar light could fit into used plastic bottles in a way that could be easily integrated into a home structure?
THE SOLUTION: The Lightie is a small solar light that can fit snugly into the opening of a plastic bottle with a 22mm opening. These small solar lights can be distributed alongside the original bottled products, like Coca-Cola, in order to reach entire communities. The plastic bottles can then be easily fitted into existing rooftops, forming a watertight seal around the light source.
THE IMPACT: The design is still being prototyped, but there are talks of distribution alongside Coca-Cola, which would result access to these affordable light sources for millions of individuals.
THE INNOVATOR(S): Michael Suttner of South Africa
Learn more here.
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