Liter of Light Street Lights, Mobile Chargers and Solar Kerosene Lamp Conversion
About the Implementing organization
Name: Liter of Light Foundation
Year of establishment: 2012
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization, Legally recognized non-profit status, Community enterprise or business , Public-private partnership, Youth group or association
The Liter of Light redesigns solar lighting for the developing world. Our simple, community-built solar technologies create green jobs, teach green skills, and empower local communities. Using readily available parts, we teach women how to convert the common kerosene lamps that are found in developing countries such as the Philippines and other equatorial areas into clean solar energy using lithium cell phone batteries, computer batteries for mobile charging systems, and electronic parts from electronic waste.
Our primary business model is to start off a community by saving power by installing a very simple plastic bottle light into the roofs of their houses to reduce their electricity costs and wean them off of alternative dangerous lighting solutions like kerosene or candles. With the savings, the are able to purchase upgrade night lights from the womens' cooperatives that we work with, who build the lamps in the hub village.
Youth in the cities can engage companies, schools and private organizations in workshops to build the solar lanterns instead of just a cash donation which then are donated to the villages.
Women can engage in rental of the solar lanterns to their village from their micro-store and increase their income by either selling or renting on a per-use basis. We have seen a large increase in franchises of this nature and the maintenance of the lamps is cheaper than having to replace entire stock every two years from imported lanterns.
Coasts / Mountains
Type of Action
Sustainable use / Mainstreaming into sectors / Access and benefit sharing / Awareness and education
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Disaster risk reduction / Peace and security / Health / Renewable energy / Climate action
The Liter of Lights are made of recycled plastic soda bottles. Instead of sitting in a landfill somewhere or floating and degrading in oceans harming marine life, the bottles are upcycled, helping to fill the needs of energy-poor communities around the world and providing livelihood to many. Traditional consumer models contribute to waste by being irreparable, leaving users to throw them away after a few months or years. Many of them are also made of unrecycled plastic and are manufactured to create profit for businesses, which look to cut costs using the cheapest materials and the fastest process, without considering sustainability and the environment.
Liter of Light also partners with many companies, private citizens and government to light up communities, helping corporations give back to the community, minimize damage to the environment and manage natural resources.
More than half a million kerosene lamps have been converted to solar, reducing indoor pollution in households.
Sustainable Development Impacts
Liter of Light is a zero carbon-emitting technology. Sunlight refracts through the daylight and bends to light the space below with 55 watts of brightness, which has been calculated to be equivalent to 250 kilos of carbon (WWF Philippines) per year for each installed bottle daylight. The batteries of night lights are solar-powered and recharge during the day, giving users light when it is dark without contributing to global warming, climate change and their negative impacts on the environment. The 350,000+ installed lights have saved at least 87,500,000 kilos of carbon per year.
Additionally, the foundation continues to give inspirational talks to schools and corporations, as well as paid day-trainings for those who are interested in green technology, sustainable development and building solar products, raising awareness on the issue of climate change and the state of the environment.
By approaching this through a decentralized, open-source manner, this is showing itself to be highly replicable. Putting technology of solar in simple designs and available parts that can be put in hands of thousands of youth, cooperatives and small startup is a more sustainable solution than a limited number of companies with centralized production, patents and using a large amount in logistics to transport solar products all over the world.
Liter of Light started out in the Philippines three years ago and is now present in over 30 countries with no government support or large grants. This has been possible through online trainings in-country, largely youth partnerships and easily replicable technology. Having proven that this model is scalable and replicable but also very financially stable to groups beginning their startup. Due to the high demand for off-grid solutions but very cheap products without possibility of repair, this new local products made it more accessible. The United Nations has recognized Liter of Light as one of the top youth-led solutions around the world that address the Sustainable Development Goals through its 2017 Youth Solutions Report (www.youthsolutions.report)
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