Your average family living in an off-grid region uses about 6 batteries a month to charge their flashlights and radios. That’s roughly 72 batteries a year. Used batteries—which contain toxic heavy metals—are disposed of in the river/lake/ocean or on the ground. Here, they become hazardous waste that can leach into the ground and waterways, polluting our environment and endangering people’s health.
72 batteries per year per family. Multiply that by 100,000 — which only accounts for a small fraction of the number of families who live off-grid—and you start to get close to three quarters of a million batteries entering and endangering our ecosystem each year.
The average lifespan of the batteries in our solar lamps is five years. That’s one battery every five years compared to the 360 batteries the average family uses now. To reduce the toxic load even further, we are currently working on a plan to give clients a discount if they return their used batteries to us for recycling.
A typical family living off grid in rural areas of the developing world spends up to one fourth of their income on lighting—from batteries, candles, kerosene or a combination of the three.
These options might be cheap in the short term as a one time purchase but they become very expensive when they are a recurring expense.
The lamps and systems we offer require a larger initial investment. But we find that many families understand it only takes a few months to cover the cost of a product which will then save them money for years to come. These savings will allow them to invest in education, agricultural tools or a micro business.
Many families living in off grid areas still use kerosene and candles as their main source of lighting. These often cause fire hazards that threaten the wooden houses that are so common in rural areas. Children and the elderly are most vulnerable since they can’t flee from a burning structure easily.
The solar lamps and systems we distribute are safe and much brighter than current lighting options on the market. They help children study at night and allow artisans to work after hours. And they let small shops and restaurants stay open for business longer.