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Project information

Powering 43,500 people out of the dark

Our mission is to eradicate the kerosene lamp from Africa and ensure nobody is left in the dark. 43,500 people will be reached with solar lights through this project.
We reach families with solar lights in rural communities where no one else will go - tackling poverty and climate change.

1 year

Charity information: SolarAid

SolarAid logo
  • Need


    600 million people in Africa are still living without access to electricity. They have no choice but to rely on expensive alternatives like candles, torches and, worst of all, kerosene lamps to escape the dark. These filthy devices are imperilling health, impairing education, wasting household income and emitting astonishingly high amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. Yet the solution already exists.


    When a family switches from kerosene to a solar light, everything changes:
    - One household reached with solar light
    - £145 saved by not buying kerosene
    - 1,006 extra hours study time
    - 1.1 tonnes of CO₂ emissions averted
    - Half the household experiencing better health

    We sell solar lights through our social enterprise, SunnyMoney, using a sustainable trade-not-aid approach. With your help we reach the most remote areas, empowering everyone to choose solar and break out of poverty.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Enable more children to study after dark in Africa's most remote rural communities.


    » Make solar lights accessible to students by working with head teachers in rural areas, enabling students to study on average an extra hour a night.

    What success will look like

    Our work is informed by 30,000 research interactions with our customers, from this we know that children with access to a solar light study on average an hour extra each night.

    Aim 2

    Help families to save 10-15% of their income


    » Providing SunnyMoney with the funds to reach remote areas will enable families to buy solar lights and save money from not having to buy kerosene.

    What success will look like

    From our 30,000+ research interactions and through speaking regularly to customers we know how much money they save after switching to solar, and what these savings are spent on.

    Aim 3

    Give people the opportunity to access clean solar light at night and experience better health


    » Encourage people to own a solar light; providing them with details of the health benefits for their families such as less eye and respiratory issues.

    What success will look like

    From our research, used by the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association, and through speaking to customers we’re able to demonstrate health improvements associated with solar lights.

    Aim 4

    Break through the affordability barrier and reach the poorest families with solar light.


    » Work on innovative projects and business models to reach those being left in the dark.

    What success will look like

    With any new innovation, we will carry out pilot projects. We will then evaluate the success using customer feedback and analysing uptake of any new products.

  • Impact


    We’ve reached 10.5 million people with solar light and played key roles in catalysing the first 2 African solar markets. We build trust and demand for solar in rural areas, creating the environment for private solar companies to join us. As market catalysers we’re contributing to permanent systematic change and will leave a legacy of solar markets across the continent. We’re able to draw upon information from our country teams, sales data and sector-wide data to demonstrate our long-term impact.


    We sell lights on a commercial basis so performance is heavily affected by country conditions. East Africa is affected by drought, so families have less to spend on solar lights. We’ve launched the SM100 one of the world’s most affordable solar lights; now even during drought families can afford a solar light.
    Emerging markets often get flooded with fake products, damaging solar lights’ reputation. The SM100 is one of the only quality solar lights that can compete with counterfeits on price.


    We use a range of methods to report to donors regularly from providing up-to-date e-newsletters, blogs and thank you letters to annual impact reports. We also use interactive features such as our online Impact Calculator and showcase impact through bespoke info-graphics

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £40,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £20,000 5,000 solar lights in Malawi This is how much it will cost to get 5,000 solar lights to remote areas in Malawi
      £20,000 5,000 solar lights in Zambia This is how much it will cost to get 5,000 solar lights to remote areas in Zambia.
  • Background


    We currently work in Malawi, Uganda and Zambia. Our teams provide access to affordable solar lights in the hardest-to-reach rural areas where for-profit organisations simply won’t go due to the lack of profitable opportunities; 77% of our customers live below the poverty line.
    Often in these areas there is little or no prior knowledge of solar. We work with head teachers, as trusted members of the community, to build trust in the solar technology and this creates initial demand for solar lights.


    During this project we’ll reach families in rural Africa at the last inch of the last mile. Our solar lights have transformational impacts on the lives of these families and our research shows that they’re used by every member of the household. So, the project’s beneficiary group is gender and age non-specific.
    The project will not only impact solar light buyers, it will benefit millions more indirectly because of our role in catalysing solar markets, providing jobs, and driving development.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    There are many organisations working in Africa to sell solar products. But most of these organisations are focussing on expensive solar home systems and moving away from affordability whilst at SolarAid, we are championing it. We’re one of the only organisations selling affordable light-only solar lights in remote rural communities. We are constantly working on innovative ideas, like the SM100, to ensure that no one gets left behind and everyone has access to clean, affordable solar light.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Brave Mhonie

    Brave is the Malawi National Sales Coordinator, he’s our longest serving SunnyMoney employee and is instrumental in the work of SunnyMoney Malawi.

    Alex Burrough

    As Operations Director, Alex is responsible for all aspects of running SunnyMoney Zambia. She has a wealth of experience in the third sector.

    John Keane

    John Keane (CEO) has devoted his career to providing access to solar in Africa. He is responsible for the running of all SolarAid programmes.


A £4 donation enables SolarAid to distribute a solar light to a family in rural Africa

“[The solar light] has reduced my cost of living, I don’t experience air pollution, my kids can read for longer hours and it uses sun as its source of energy.” Joseph Kirui in Kenya

Joseph Kirui in Kenya