Innovations in Light – NYTimes.com

3 Feb

Some fascinating stuff here about getting lighting without the overhead of the grid:

If you look at the market for solar lighting in Africa, you’ll be excused for thinking that you’re looking at the mobile phone market some 15 years ago. Both are leapfrog technologies — neither land lines nor the electrical grid is going to reach much of the continent, so let’s just skip that generation of technology and move to the next one. Like cellphones, solar lamps are getting cheaper, smaller, better. Both are life-changing, indispensable. And the market is enormous. Today, about 1.5 million people in Africa use solar lamps. That’s a huge number — but it’s less than 1 percent of the potential market. A fifth of the world’s population lives without electricity. Another large group of people do have access to electricity, but need an alternative because it is too expensive and power outages are daily events.

The problem isn’t finding the technology, it’s coming up with a business model that people can afford. Three examples are discussed.

via Innovations in Light – NYTimes.com.

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