Solar-powered lamp and charger
China, AD 2010
This lamp is powered by the small solar panel connected to it. As well as providing light, power from this panel can be used to charge mobile phones.
There are currently 1.6 billion people across the world without access to an electrical grid. In these areas, access to lamps such as this allows people to study, work and socialise outside daylight hours, vastly improving the quality of many lives.
Additionally, households using solar rather than kerosene lamps are able to avoid the damage that kerosene can do to the health. Women in particular often suffer from kerosene-related health issues, such as damage to the lungs, due to spending much of their time over kerosene stoves in enclosed spaces. Using solar energy also avoids the significant risk of fire which kerosene lamps can pose.
Once purchased, this kit costs little to run, making it a very efficient option for many people living in the world’s poorest countries. Microfinance schemes, created to aid in the purchasing of lamps and chargers such as this, are helping to make this more feasible for many people across the world.
This kit uses a range of new materials and technologies which have helped to change the world we live in since the 1980s, including plastics, rechargeable batteries, LED lights and silicon-chip technology. The latter can be found in both computers and mobile phones, and here it is used in the solar photovoltaic cell. This cell converts sunlight into electricity. Exposing this cell to eight hours of bright sunshine provides up to 100 hours of even lamp light.