SolarPuff: A Unique Little Solar Light

  1. Technology (http://www.solight-design.com/our-story)

This inflatable personal solar lamp, was designed through the integration of photovoltaics with thin film substrates. Inspired by origami balloon this water-resistant light source offers people without direct access to electricity, the ability to become less reliant on traditional expensive and pollution-intensive kerosene lanterns.

The collapsible-cube shaped lamp consists of 10 LEDs with a lithium polymer battery. The small cube weighs on 2.6oz and is made from PET which is both water-resistant and recyclable. It offers 3 different light settings, operated by a push button: 1 push for low, 2 for high and 3 for blinking or distress setting. On average, the SolarPuff will be fully charged in 8 hours of bright sunlight, providing 8 to 12 hours of light.

solarpuffs

  1. Sustainability Problem

Many communities without access to electricity (estimated 1.6 billion in the world) have to resort to the use of kerosene lanterns to light their homes. The lack of reliable lighting vastly limits their ability and options to carry out activities once the sun goes down. Furthermore, the burning of kerosene lanterns has severe knock on effects due to the toxic nature of the indoor air quality as a result – 2 million children reportedly die each year due to this. Not only an environmental problem, but also an economic one; these families spend 30% of their income on kerosene fuel. The SolarPuff can help alleviate these burdens by offering a free and safe alternative for lighting.

  1. Stakeholders
  • Partner NGOs
  • Community Leaders
  • Local Government
  • Development Aid donors
  • Consumers
  • Designers
  • Material researchers

 

  1. Implementation Process

Applicable in numerous different countries, across cultures and even income levels, the SolarPuff technology has huge potential as an innovative type of decentralized infrastructure. The clean design and flexible use options make it an attractive product to both the developed and developing world.

The organization has a website for online purchase of an individual or set of these solar lanterns. 10% of online sales goes to aid the mission. The products are also stocked in shops like the New York UN HQs gift store as well as the MoMA Design store. This entrepreneurial team works closely with local NGOs on the ground in places like Haiti, Ghana, Syria and Nepal, to distribute lights to refugees, disaster victims and communities disconnected from basic infrastructure. Appealing to both those who need them and those who want them, the design-oriented strategy of this technology allows it to maximize its reach.

solar-puff-demo

Sources:

Kickstarter, SolarPuff: A Unique Little Solar Light: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/solightdesign/solarpuff-a-unique-little-solar-light

Inhabitat, The foldable Solight Solarpuff solar-powered lantern provides off-grid light where there is no electricity: http://inhabitat.com/the-foldable-solight-solarpuff-solar-powered-lantern-provides-off-grid-light-where-there-is-no-electricity/

Inhabitat, Help kickstart this little SolarPuff lantern that could save the world: http://inhabitat.com/help-kickstart-this-little-solarpuff-lantern-that-could-save-the-world/

MoMA store, SolarPuff: https://www.momastore.org/museum/moma/ProductDisplay_SolarPuff_10451_10001_209093_-1_26715_11501

 

 

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2 thoughts on “SolarPuff: A Unique Little Solar Light

  1. This is great! Not only will these SolarPuffs be more environmentally friendly options and reduce the rate of child illness, but it will also increase productivity in those areas that otherwise do not have electricity or try to reduce their costs of kerosene. The only question I would have is how much these lights actually cost and how shipping works. It is possible that many communities, who may not currently be served by local NGOs, would be interested in investing in these lights; however, it would need to be cheap enough and would need to be delivered to their rural community. Great find though!

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  2. Technologies like these that are solving fundamental problems (like water, food, electricity) for communities in developing areas are important not only from an environmental lens, but also from a social and economic lens in the use case described above. However, this technology has applications beyond just providing basic lighting – it can be used in disaster relief situations and for providing alternatives for fossil fuel electricity. It could also be used in the outdoors market, such as camping, hiking, or sailing.

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