A subsidiary of Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., one of the world’s leading solar panel manufacturers, is partnering with SolarAid, a leading international charity that combats poverty and climate change, to launch the world’s most affordable quality solar light, the SM100.
The new solar light was designed and developed by Yingli Europe, with the support of a UK industrial design agency, to meet critical price and performance specifications of SolarAid. SolarAid’s objectives were to provide a tough, durable solar light for use in rural Africa, which meets Lighting Africa standards and retails for $5 in Africa, in order to make electrical light more accessible to the 598 million people in Africa who lack access to electricity.
“When I first started at SolarAid 10 years ago the lights we sold in Africa were $25 each. Over the last 10 years prices have come down and now SolarAid is proud to be launching what we believe is the world’s most affordable solar light on the market,” said Nick Sireau, CEO of SolarAid. “Working with our social enterprise, SunnyMoney, in Africa we will be selling the SM100 to people in rural communities for just $5 each. We sincerely hope this step change in pricing will help us to eradicate the kerosene lamp for good.”
The SM100 captures, within the design and features, SunnyMoney’s collective insights after selling over 10 million solar lights across Africa in the past 10 years. During August 2016 nine thousand SM100s were distributed in Uganda, Malawi and Zambiathrough SolarAid’s social enterprise, SunnyMoney, who sell lights via school networks and local enterprises. This first batch of lights will form a sales trial, allowing SolarAid to gather customer feedback to incorporate into further SM100 design and manufacturing iterations.
The solar-powered SM100 provides more than 5 hours of constant bright light. It can be used as a traditional desk light or hung on the wall. Due to the SM100’s rectangular shape it can be also be used off the stand and additional slots in the casing can be used to attach a strap so that the lamp can be worn as a head torch for hands-free use. The SM100 will retail for £10 in the UK, providing SolarAid with the funds to distribute two more SM100 lights in Africa for every one that is bought in the UK.
Yingli has committed to support SolarAid in their important mission to eradicate the kerosene lamp. “The SM100 will provide safe light to millions more families who live currently on less than 1.25$ per day. Not only will the lamp save lives but also support children’s’ education at home in the dark evenings and saving families money by avoiding the purchase of air polluting kerosene,” said Darren Thompson, Managing Director of Yingli Europe. “We are pleased to provide SolarAid with a durable high quality solar light at the lowest price point possible that will help to transform the quality of life for millions of people that live without electricity. At Yingli we stand behind our mission – Affordable Green Energy for All.”
— Solar Builder magazine