Solar Lighting 101 March 18 2015

Story by Maureen Mumo

Earlier this week I wrote about the International Year of Light and the global problem of lighting. Now, I'd like to tell you more about the problem in my home country, Kenya, and why I'm excited that EcoZoom Kenya is offering the HomePlus solar lighting system.

It is estimated that about 73 percent of Kenyans live within 1-kilometre (0.6 miles) distance of a power transformer, yet only 18 percent are connected to the grid. At its most basic level, Africa's energy poverty means there is often no electricity to power lights to study or to work at night. It also means no access to safer electric cooking and heating, powered health centers, or electricity to run a business.

EcoZoom Kenya is a distributor of Greenlight Planet solar products, known as Sunking. They are great products and we've had quite a bit of success selling their single lamps. GLP recently launched the Sunking HomePlus, a complete rooftop solar solution for the off-grid house. It provides rooftop solar charging, three overhead lighting fixtures and a centralized power station that can charge mobile phones, and other household appliances. We think this product is a great addition to the single lamps so we brought into our product offering.

Some of the benefits of this light are:

  • Little maintenance. The Sunking HomePlus has few moveable parts which means that fewer parts exist to break. They last for a long time and require little attention once installed.
  • Renewable resource. Solar power is a renewable resource. Other energy resources, such as coal and oil, have finite supplies. The power of the sun, on the other hand, will keep on shining, potentially beyond human existence.
  • With solar lighting there is no risk of electrocution and the lights are cool to the touch, making them safe for children and pets.
  • The Sunking HomePlus continues working even if there has been a power outage. Because the energy isn’t coming off of an electrical grid, power outages make no difference.
  • It can power many different lighting needs, including walkway lights, indoor lights, security lights, portable spotlight stands, and handheld lanterns and flashlights.
  • No emissions. Perhaps the greatest benefits of solar lighting are the environmental benefits. This is especially important as EcoZoom gets to advance its mission of reducing carbon emissions. It caters to not only take care of the environment (planet) but also the people.

These advantages extend to both the wallet and the environment. In addition to all of this, the benefits of solar lighting are only destined to increase as solar technology advances and light up many more African homes!