Renewable energy has been seen as a way to help developing nations leapfrog the dirty, costly fossil fuel economy from which so many countries are now trying to extract themselves. The only problem is that solar and wind technologies aren’t cheap, and they require a somewhat skilled workforce to manufacture and install–something most developing nations are lacking.
Olafur Eliasson, an Icelandic artist whose work centers around creative uses of light, recently presented a possible lighting solution that is perfect for the small, remote villages of Ethiopia. Dubbed “Little Sun” the creatively-shaped, solar-powered lamp is compact, durable and most importantly, versatile.
The flower-shaped Little Sun uses LED technology and captures sunlight through a 6 x 6 cm (2.4 x 2.4 inch) mono-crystalline solar module. As pointed out in this review, the lamp only needs four hours of exposure to sunlight to provide five hours of bright, clean light. Best of all, it’s light, small design means that it can be used anywhere its needed, in the home or outside of it. It can even be attached to a bike as an alternative headlight.
“Little Sun helps decentralise access to power in the world by making sustainable light available anywhere,” says Eliasson and his collaborator, engineer Frederik Ottesen, on their website. “It promotes economic growth in regions of the world where electricity is not available or reliable. Its distribution networks bring prosperity to all participants in the supply chain and to the end user. We change lives.”
The Little Sun will officially launch at the Tate Modern museum in London during the festival that precedes the upcoming Olympics in the English capital. By 2020 the company aims to have distributed 50 million Little Sun lights through a network of trusted partners, distributors, and retailers.