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


Judith Emerson
Judith Emerson9 months ago

Wonder if one light bulb posted outside would be enuf to maintain the lights thru the nite.

Todd Smith
Todd Coppersmith3 years ago

Interesting but the solar bottle bulbs only work during daylight hours, that's not when they need the light.

Bridget N.
Bridget N.3 years ago

i wonder how much we could improve our own nation's problems with inventions like these. We often see so many radical things to help other countries, it can get u thinking on how many of our own communities could benefit from this idea as well!

Jane Warren
Jane Warren4 years ago

thnx for this

Alice D.
Alice C.4 years ago

Solar lighting is the best ~ We installed solar lighting at our business in 2003.

Manuela B.
Manuela B.4 years ago

i saw this on TV - great...

Marc B.
Marc B.4 years ago

Great idea - light will decreace accidents and improve education.

Cathy Noftz
Cathy Noftz4 years ago

~This was a wonderful article!~Mr. Liwanag certainly has brightened alot of lives with his homemade lightbulb!~Terrific invention that impacts alot of lives!!~

SeattleAnn S.
Ann S.5 years ago

Do they care about the torture animals endure through testing of this corrosive bleach they are using? How would it feel to have bleach poured into our eyes, forced vapor inhalation, etc.? I adamantly avoid supporting any producers of any household cleaners/chemicals that are clearly caustic, and thus, have obviously been tested on animals.

CHRISTOPHER S.5 years ago

Think I might try these in my garden shed and chicken coops.