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5 Crazy Ways to Light the Developing World

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3. Hawk Light

hawk light, solar panel, solar lantern

Just because rooftop solar panels are expensive and require skilled technicians to install doesn’t mean that we should abandon solar energy as a lighting solution. We just have to get creative. In order to understand what would truly be useful for residents, industrial design student Murray Sharp and his team spent time living in Alexandra township, in Johannesburg, South Africa. It quickly became apparent that people needed something more than a flashlight for emergencies. So Sharp and his team set about designing the Hawk Light: a combination portable solar panel and lantern that also offers an electrical plug for charging small devices like a cell phone. The lantern features three LED strips that are placed at 60 degree intervals giving a wider range of light. The LEDs are low power, allowing them to last longer on power generated by the panel.

4. WakaWaka Light

waka-waka light, solar light, swahili

The bummer about most solar-powered lights is that they require up to 12 hours in direct sunlight just to produce an hour or two of artificial light. This means you’ve really got to think ahead in order to utilize the lamps without frustration. Such is not the case with the WakaWaka Solar Light. This extremely rugged case is made from recycled plastic and designed to fit on to the neck of a standard glass beverage bottle. Just eight hours of exposure to sunlight or artificial light packs eight hours of bright light, 16 hours of reading light, or an amazing 80 hours of night safety light into the device’s 3 AA rechargeable NiMh batteries. The best part is that for a limited time, each WakaWaka Power (combination solar light and charging device) you purchase, the company will donate 1 WakaWaka Light to a family of 5 in Haiti where 370,000 people are still living in darkness.

5. Wind Up Lantern

wind up lantern, NEBO

Sometimes you just don’t have the luxury of waiting for the sun. The NEBO Wind Up Lantern is a portable, reliable energy-saving lantern with 24 super bright white LEDs guaranteed to last for more than 100,000 hours. All it takes is a minute or two of turning the crank handle to wind up the lantern to create hours of light.

Related Reading:

D.Light Design: A New Path To A Brighter Future

Solar Sister: A 2011 SVN Innovation Award Winner

Solar Lighting Could Revolutionize Africa In 10 Years

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12:18PM PST on Dec 31, 2012

Very interesting! Tks!

6:04PM PST on Dec 25, 2012

I want a Waka Waka light now! That's too cool! ...and cute! :-)

1:36PM PST on Dec 22, 2012


3:28AM PST on Dec 21, 2012

thank you

1:20AM PST on Dec 17, 2012

Thank you.

4:58PM PST on Dec 16, 2012

Innovative ideas. Good to hear.

3:24PM PST on Dec 16, 2012

Thanks Beth for the wonderful article, photos and video.

10:36AM PST on Dec 16, 2012

thanks for posting

8:59AM PST on Dec 16, 2012

Two sources of power not mentioned. which also drive more than just light are : 1) the children's play roundabout which provides power to pump water from wells and 2) micro-hydra schemes which use small local streams and the fall of water to provide power. ............See ..... a group which has a host of clever but very simple technological ideas which help poor villagers, such as "refrigerator" pots, smoke free cookers, fish farming boxes, floating gardens and much else. Pass it on !!

7:00AM PST on Dec 16, 2012

Thank you for the article...

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