Thursday 27th October 2016                 Change text size:

Every Child Has a Light: the philanthropic solar scheme

Every Child Has a Light: the philanthropic solar scheme

Alex Blackburne writes how two American companies – Sungevity and Empowered by Light – have joined forces to realise a global solar power revolution, starting with Zambia.

Children in Zambia will be helped to “build their future” by a new scheme that aims to transform solar power into an easily accessible, global phenomenon.

Sungevity, a Californian residential solar company, and Empowered by Light, a not-for-profit organisation intent on improving lives through the use of renewable energy, have combined to introduce Every Child Has a Light. It is a scheme that sees Zambian children profit from solar power consumers 10,000 miles away in the US.

For every solar system that Sungevity sell, they will donate a Lemnis Lighting solar light kit to children in Zambia, because “in a part of the country with almost no electricity resources and a dependency on toxic kerosene lights, solar power offers a healthy way to light up a child’s world”, the company’s website reads.

The scheme will allow Zambian families to perform relatively straightforward tasks such as reading, writing and cooking at night, without using lamps that emit harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – these are tasks that people in the West take for granted.

Zambia, located in southern Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. 86% of its near 13 million-strong population live below the poverty line, and it has an unemployment rate of 50%.

Its GDP is some 900 times less than that of the US, which is why the West has such an important role to play in creating a renewable energy revolution on a global scale, not just a national one.

In truth, Sungevity and Empowered by Light’s project is just a tiny step towards achieving this, but it’s a wholly positive one in completely the right direction.

Other companies from the world’s richest countries now need to follow suit, to light up and power the rest of the world using renewable sources – especially those countries that can’t do this for themselves.

The vast open deserts that encapsulate the majority of the African continent provide solar power with a perfect base to produce good, clean energy.

This New York Times video, although not specifically about the Every Child Has a Light project, sums up the significance of the solar light kits perfectly – “power [provides] freedom from the idle darkness of night”.

If you would like to find out more about investing in this kind of technology, in order to make a real difference in the developing world, ask your financial adviser, if you have one, or complete our online form and we’ll connect you with a specialist ethical adviser.

Picture source: Gerrit Labrijn

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