Candles on Flickr.
What are the benefits of having a solar light in the home? The answer is something that becomes self-evident to us in the field, but is worth expanding upon here. In our dealings with schools we tend to bring together the multiple benefits of owning a solar light into six main groupings:
1. Educational – solar lights allow for students to study and for teachers to prepare during the hours of darkness.
2. Safety – LED solar lights neutralise the fire risk posed by candles and kerosene lamps, an ever-present danger in rural households.
3. Health – in contrast to kerosene lamps, solar lights are free of toxic emissions. Bright solar lights are also a vast improvement on the poor light from candles and kerosene lamps, bringing a decreased likelihood of long-term eye strain; a significant health effect in communities operating in conditions dominated by poor lighting.
4. Utility/Functionality – the solar lights we sell are portable, robust and designed with the demands of rural customers in mind. SunnyMoney prides itself on its customer focus, providing a variety of products for customers to choose between that are well suited to the environment in which we operate.
5. Environmental – No kerosene, no disposable batteries, no candles. Need I say more?
6. Economic – solar lights really do save you money. From our calculations we have found that for the average family the s1 solar light will pay for itself in 6-8 weeks. This is the result of customers no longer needing to spend money on candles, batteries and kerosene. Indeed, we estimate that over the life cycle of the product a customer will save around $100, a significant sum for a rural household.
As a final point, the general improvement to the life of an individual and their family of having a reliable source of light in the home, where previously there was none, is hard to quantify - but a significant factor nonetheless.
Ensuring that an understanding of these benefits is disseminated from the SunnyMoney team, through headteachers, and finally to students, teachers and members of the community, is central to the approach of our schools campaign.