SolarAid bursts forth


Headteacher Beatrice with SolarAid lamps
By Anders Lorenzen
SolarAid  is leading the solar lights revolution in Africa; a drive which we featured in our March article ‘’In Africa, solar offers much more than clean energy’’.
SolarAid business arm Sunny Money was expecting to see sales of it’s solar lamps hitting the 320,000 mark by the end of March this year, beating last year sales by nearly 600%. Sales have in fact now reached 400,000, with the added bonus of the charity being made a finalist for the prestigious Ashden Awards. The Ashden Awards were set up in 2001 with the aim of highlighting ground breaking green energy champions in the UK and the developing world. They have so far helped 140 sustainable energy pioneers develop their work.


Ashden Founding Director, Sarah Butler-Sloss, said of their decision that: “One of the biggest challenges in getting sustainable energy to the poor is getting to the ‘last mile’ – those remote rural areas where commercial distribution and retail networks simply don’t exist. SolarAid’s ingenious distribution methods are getting power to the people who need it the most.”

A delighted SolarAid Managing Director, Pippa Palmer, added that: “Through SunnyMoney, SolarAid’s goal is to build a sustainable future for solar technology in Africa through the sale of solar lights. In the last four months alone, our solar light sales in Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Kenya have increased by 62%, encouraging us to launch our fundraising campaign ‘Make it a Million’.  Being an Ashden Award finalist shines a light on this new challenge we have set ourselves, to fund further expansion of our distribution networks in order to sell one million solar lamps by the end of this year.”

Sunny Money lists countless benefits to investing in the £5 solar lights, including:


  • Emission reductions; a kerosene lamp emits up to one tonne of carbon over five years, a solar light emits none.
  • Cleaner air; the fumes from one kerosene lamp is equivalent to smoking 40 cigarettes per day, a solar light emits none.
  • Reduced costs; typical families in Kenya have reduced kerosene use by an average of 77% and are saving UK£74 per year through the use of solar lights.
  • Improved education; children typically do 92% more homework / two extra hours of homework a night after their family secures a solar light in their home.
Building on its recent success, SolarAid has stepped up it’s ambition and launched the ‘Make it a Million’ campaign, aiming to install one million solar lights by the end of this year.
The charity currently operates in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi;  find out more about them here. They were featured on the BBC News ‘Our World’ broadcast last weekend, available on iplayer.

Categories: Kenya

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