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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I buy a Nuru Light?
If you are interested in buying Nuru Lights, please contact email@example.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.