Lighting Up the World

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For 1.2 billion people without electricity, darkness is a reality. Without electricity, sundown means losing the ability to study, be productive, run a business, and be safe. Current lighting alternatives (candles, firewood, kerosene lamps) are expensive, flammable, and emit harmful particulates that contribute to respiratory illnesses. The Impact Centre is working to tackle “light poverty” using a blend of technology, social, and business innovation to produce robust lighting (using solar panels, batteries, and high-efficiency LEDs) and a sustainable distribution model.

The Impact Centre has a deep expertise both in lighting and international projects, having founded the Smart Sustainable Lighting Network (SSLNet) and participated in numerous projects in the Philippines, India, Brazil and China. For the project, we are leveraging our internal expertise and network of experts in research, product development, and commercialization.

A key resource for expanding the reach of the project is Pueblo Science, a Canadian charity that has delivered training for teachers across the Philippines, Guyana, and Thailand, impacting over 2,000 teachers and 210,000 children worldwide. Their initiatives were driven by collaborations with Ministries of Education, universities, high schools, and individuals. Pueblo’s strength is working synergistically with partners on the ground to deliver programs that meet local needs. We will contract them to mobilize schools and educators.

Our lighting solution is an overhead lighting unit consisting of solar panels, batteries, and high-efficiency LEDs for C$20 per household. We will later replace the battery with a novel carbon supercapacitor, extending the system’s life-time five-fold. The plan is to deploy 2 million units in 10 provinces of the Philippines (reaching 55% of unelectrified households) and 2.5 million units in 5 states of India (where 55 million rural households have little or no electricity). In order to be sustainable, we will train communities to market, assemble, and maintain the systems, ensuring local livelihoods and long-term sustainability.

This project is a step towards lighting the world, enhancing quality of life, productivity, and taking steps to eradicate poverty.