Lighting again: flashlights, climate change, and economic development

Written by adam


I’ve written before about technology leapfrogging and the benefits of LEDs in the developing world, but the New York Times provides another excuse with its recent profile of SunNight Solar, a Houston-based company that has devised a solar-powered LED flashlight specifically for the two billion people who don’t have access to affordable sources of light when the sun goes down.

Lighting projects are sometimes used as a source of carbon credits, because electrified light sources are far better for the environment than kerosene lamps or unsustainable wood harvesting.

SunNight Solar isn’t using the carbon markets for financing, although they do appear, like TerraPass, to be a mission-driven for-profit company. You can support their mission by buying one of their BoGo Lights. BoGo stands for Buy One, Give One, and the idea is simple: when you buy a flashlight for yourself, you also buy a flashlight to be distributed in the developing world via one of SunNight Solar’s partner organizations.

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  1. Donna Benton

    I saw that and plan to order some as I live in earthquake country. You are always advised to keep a flashlight and extra batteries next to your bed. Our last major eathquake was in 1994. Many batteries have died since then. I have tried the flashlights you shake, but I could not get it to work.
    Any advise on solar cell phone chargers?

  2. Jody

    This is brilliant. I’m not only thrilled to see a Houston-based company in print actually doing something not-evil, but its also wonderful to see people reaching out to under developed countries. So frequently people in those countries get lost as statistics.
    And as many of these countries are near the equator using solar energy seems a no-brainer!
    I think solar flashlights sound really cool. I bet they could get a lot of science enthralled kids in on this. “Not only do you get this fresh space-age technology, but you’re sending one to a kid just like you in Zimbabwe.” What kid wouldn’t want one for holiday or birthday?
    So I guess my point is thanks for the encouraging story.