The World Bank (2018) states that one billion people lack access to electricity, mostly concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. With several hundred million more living with unreliable or expensive power.
To compensate for a lack of readily available electricity, many in developing countries are forced to use ‘off-grid lighting’. Wharton Professor Serguei Nettissine (2017) states ‘countries with lower GDP — countries in Africa, some countries in Asia’ the use of kerosene burning lamps is widespread.
The burning of kerosene and other carbon-based fuels for sources of light has a host of negative outcomes related to the health and financial well-being of those forced to use fossil fuels as sources of light. Epidemiological research has linked kerosene lighting to burns, asthma, impaired lung function, cancer, impaired vision, and increased susceptibility to infectious diseases such as tuberculosis (Apple et al., 2010; Lam et al., 2018).
The burning of fossil fuels has also significant effect on the environment. Climate science has demonstrated that human activities are causing increases in the overall temperature of Earth’s atmosphere (United Nations, 2021). The burning of fossil fuels to power vehicles, factories and homes is responsible for almost all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the last 150 years (Solomon et al., 2007).
Focusing solely on the localized/immediate lighting needs of resource poor families and individuals in the developing world, Solar Power Aid (SPA) has been founded to provide solar powered lanterns in order to ameliorate the harmful effects that comparatively expensive, inadequate lighting sources e.g. Kerosone lanterns, give rise to. Our intervention intersects health, poverty relief and the environment.
Our exclusive focus on lanterns as a driver for change is due to the fact they are low cost, easy to use and maintain, easy to transport and comparatively robust. From a cost perspective far much more of this form of lighting can be provided to many more beneficiaries than larger lighting systems. It is intended that the studies we undertake will provide a qualitative spine to our intervention.