Category: Uncategorized

Approach

Rural Retail
Nuru Light screens and selects entrepreneurs from local cooperatives to operate their own microfranchises. Located in the customers’ communities, each microfranchise operator (‘entrepreneur’) will sell lights and then charge the customers a small fee to recharge the lights using the POWERCycle pedal generator. Each entrepreneur earns over $3 per day in profit. Such an income launches an entrepreneur comfortably out of poverty, giving them 3-4 times the national average income, while still saving customers 85% on lighting. Because Nuru Light targets female entrepreneurs, the earnings are more likely to be spent on the education, health, and nutrition of their children.

Urban Retail

In cities and slums throughout the developing world, millions have access for only a few hours a day. We have designed the POWERGrid for these situations, with which families can charge lights when they have access to power and use the lights when the power is out. Microfinance banks will give microloans to families to buy five lights and one POWERGrid charger.

Donor-Based

For particularly vulnerable groups with no source of income, such as refugees, Nuru Light started a charity called Lights for Life International. The organization donates lights to school children in refugee camps who have no income and therefore, no ability to buy lights. These children’s only chance to escape the refugee camps is to do well on the national exam and earn a scholarship to university. Without a light, however, they cannot study. So, by providing students with Nuru Lights, you can give these children a future.

Awards

Award: World Business and Development Award

Organization: International Chamber of Commerce

Year: 2010
Description: The biennial World Business and Development Awards acknowledge the contribution of the private sector to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through their core business. The MDGs, endorsed by 189 countries, are eight goals that promote poverty reduction, education, maternal health, gender equality, and aim at combating child mortality, AIDS and other diseases. The United Nations has devoted the year 2010 to build a renewed momentum around the MDGs, including special attention for the role of business in development through an initiative known as the Business Call to Action.

Charging Systems

Nuru Light has developed the world’s first commercially available pedal generator. Unlike wind and solar, the pedal ensures that power is always available. The POWERCycle can charge up to five lights at once in just twenty minutes of pedaling. Each charged light will last for 25 hours on low, 18 hours on medium, and 9 hours on high, resulting in a charging ratio of 375:1, making it over 375 times more efficient than solar! Because the POWERCycle is easy to operate, even children can use it.

POWERGrid

In cities throughout the developing world, power outages are a fact of life. As a result, almost two billion people have access to electricity for only a few hours a day. With this situation in mind, Nuru Light invented the POWERGrid, a plug-in charging system. With the POWERGrid, customers can charge their light when they have access to electricity and use the Nuru Lights when the power is out. The POWERGrid can charge up to five lights at once.

POWERSolar

Nuru Light has also developed the POWERSolar, a solar panel that can charge up to five lights at once. This clean and efficient lighting system allows customers to charge their lights during the day and use them at night.

FAQs

What’s the problem?
There are almost four billion people in the world without reliable access to electricity, including two billion without any access at all. These people are forced to overspend for ad-hoc lighting solutions that are unhealthy, have a negative environmental impact, and are extremely dangerous. In the words of C.K. Prahalad, University of Michigan professor and author of The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: “[the poor’s] sources of energy are dirty and inefficient, and on a per-kilowatt basis they cost anywhere from 5-100 times more than modern fuels and electricity. The paradox is that the poor are spending a disproportionate share of their income on a product that richer people can get cheaper and of high quality”.

What do people currently use if they don’t have electricity?
Kerosene lanterns, small tin cans with wicks or even firewood. Unfortunately, these lighting sources are:

Unaffordable: The world’s poor spend between 10-40% of their income on kerosene.
Unhealthy: Inhaling kerosene fumes is the equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarettes a day.
Environmentally Unfriendly: kerosene produces millions of tons of carbon dioxide annually.
Unsafe: 25% of households reported kerosene-related accidents in the last twelve-months, including fires and skin burns
Unfit for purpose: light from kerosene is dim and barely useful, not providing enough light for school children to study at night
What about solar lanterns and solar lighting systems? Aren’t these good solutions?

Solar lanterns cost between $20-$100, home solar lighting systems cost between $100-$500.
For a household earning $1-$2 a day, these solutions are out of reach.
Solar is also an inefficient technology – only 15% of the sun rays are converting into electricity which means it takes a long time to charge anything. Therefore, customers only get roughly one minute of light for one minute of charging. With the POWERCycle, customers get 375 minutes of light from one minute of charging!
Furthermore, what happens on cloudy or rainy days? – rural households with solar technology would be out of luck.
Where does Nuru Light operate?
Currently, Nuru Light is only Rwanda. However, by the end of 2012, we will be throughout East Africa (Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya) and India.

What if Nuru Light does not operate in my country?
If you are interested in having Nuru Light operate in your country, please contact us at info@nurulight.com.

Can I buy a Nuru Light?
If you are interested in buying Nuru Lights, please contact info@nurulight.com.

Is Nuru Light a for-profit or non-profit?
We at Nuru Light believe that the solution to the developing world’s lighting crisis must be market-based. We did not want to depend on donor money in the world to provide a light to the four billion people without reliable access to electricity. Therefore, we chose to be a for-profit social enterprise with the mission of creating an affordable light that the world’s poor not only want, but can afford. In addition to our for-profit company, we also created a charity called Lights for Life International that donates lights to vulnerable school children. If you would like to provide a light to a child in a refugee camp, please visit this website. Your donation will allow children fleeing war and famine the opportunity to study for the Rwandan national exam and earn a scholarship to university.

POWERCycle

Nuru Light has developed the world’s first commercially available pedal generator. Unlike wind and solar, the pedal ensures that power is always available. The POWERCycle can charge up to five lights at once in just twenty minutes of pedaling. Each charged light will last for 35 hours, resulting in a charging ratio of 525:1, making it over 500 times more efficient than solar! Because the POWERCycle is easy to operate, even children can use it.

The Need

We work to replace kerosene because it is:

Unaffordable:

4 billion people lack reliable access to electricity, with 1.8 billion people with no access to electricity entirely. Rural customers around the world are estimated to spend between $8 and $12 per month for replacement lighting services, including candles, kerosene, dry cells, or battery charging. These sources of energy are dirty and inefficient, and on a per-kilowatt basis they cost anywhere from five to 100 times more than modern fuels and electricity. As a result, lighting represents between 10 percent and 40 percent of a family’s income. Given that grid extension can cost up to $10,000 per kilometer, renewable energy lighting systems are needed to reduce the cost burden on rural households. Without affordable lighting, children cannot study at night, businesses cannot operate after sundown, mothers have difficulty cooking, and life overall is dramatically more difficult.

Unhealthy:

Kerosene and other fossil fuels produce noxious fumes that can lead to a variety of ailments. According to the World Bank, 780 million women and children breathing particulate laden kerosene fumes inhale the equivalent smoke from two packs of cigarettes per day. The result is that two thirds of the adult female lung cancer victims are non-smokers. Furthermore, carbon monoxide replaces the oxygen indoors, which can result in death. Nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides also cause lung and eye infections, respiratory problems and cancer, while volatile organic compounds also cause eye, nose, and throat infections, kidney and liver afflictions, and cancer. Poor ventilation compounds the problem, increasing the risk of serious health hazards that are serious and debilitating. Indoor air pollution often results in illness and death. In developing nations, acute respiratory infection, influenza and pneumonia caused by kerosene exposure kill over 1 million people annually, over 60% of whom are under age 14.

Environmentally Unfriendly:

Kerosene is a fossil fuel. In Nuru’s countries of operations (Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, India), kerosene-based lighting systems result in over 25 million tons of carbon dioxide every year. Worldwide, kerosene is responsible for 100 million tons of carbon emissions annually. Kerosene also emits nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides, which contribute to acid rain and ozone depletion.

Unsafe:

Kerosene lamps cause countless deaths by burns, fires, and suffocation. In Rwanda, 25% of households reported a kerosene related fire within the last year.

Unfit for Purpose:

The light provided by a kerosene lamp is dim and inefficient. The amount of light from the lamp is only about 1% of what the people in industrialized countries have for the same price and is only 0.2% as strong as a 60 watt light bulb. The light is so poor that children can only see their books if they are almost directly over the flame. As a result, they inhale even more of the toxic smoke. Besides being unhealthy, trying to do school work with a kerosene lamp creates a barrier to education and learning.