Solar Lights for a Million Filipino Homes
Which light bulb requires no electricity or battery, costs pennies to install and runs for years without needing to be replaced?
If you guessed the solar bottle bulb made from a 2-liter plastic bottle, a little bleach and some water, you’re correct. A Liter of Light (Isang Litrong Liwanag), an initiative of My Shelter Foundation in the Philippines, has big plans for them. Founder Illac Diaz learned of the simple light bulb, developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology students, and knew it could transform life for millions of Filipinos without electricity.
According to the initiative’s Web site, “3 million households still remain powerless outside Metro Manila. And even in the metro, families still continue to live in darkness. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) has reported that a large number of fire-related incidents involve faulty electrical connections. Informal settlements are high-risk areas, since the BFP does not conduct fire hazard inspections in these communities. MyShelter envisions sharing to unprivileged communities an economically — and ecologically — sustainable source of light that will provide an immediate solution to our fellowmen’s problems.”
Brazil’s Alfredo Moser is credited with the first model. He filled the ubiquitous throwaway bottles with water, added a cap made of camera film, and avoided mold by mixing in 2 caps of “sanitary water.”
MIT students and Illac Diaz made a few improvements, and now Isang Litrong Liwanag is on a mission “to light a million homes by 2012.” The solar bottle bulbs only work during daylight hours, but their low cost and high impact are changing lives for Filipino families.
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Photo from spare parts studio via Flickr Creative Commons