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Finalist World Award - Category Fire

Submitted by: MyShelter Foundation
Country: Philippines

How water and bleach make a Liter of Light

One in five people globally do not have access to reliable electricity. Many, even those living in cities, have power, but often the sources are so costly that they are forced to illegally tap into high voltage lines sometimes causing death or imprisonment. Liter of Light is an open-source two step solution to build a grassroots micro-solar industry in a country by creating a livelihood program that trains women from low-income and at-risk populations to assemble locally sourced, sustainable, and affordable solar products. Liter of (Day) Light is a DIY affordable system to allow the sun's rays into homes, schools and public centers at less than $ 2.

Liter of Light uses recycled plastic bottles, 10 milliliters of bleach and distilled water. The bottles with the ingredients are placed through the galvanized steel sheet roofs common in many developing countries. Inserted through the roof, each light refracts sunlight with the intensity of a 55-watt bulb, saving households $ 10 a month in electricity costs and 200 kilos of carbon emissions per year. Using simple tools and basic carpentry skills, local entrepreneurs and women’s groups light up their communities for $ 10 with a sustainable lighting and mobile phone charging system that works day and night. The Liter of (day) Light with a water-filled bottle started in April 2011 with one unemployed carpenter, one dark home, and one soda daylight. Since then it has grown to 350,000 daylights in ten countries.
 
The second part of the program provides training and kits to cooperatives to teach them how to assemble and build a simple battery, LED lights and solar panels by hand in their villages. Micro-solar panels which are widely available (in the case of the Philippines) or solarettes are assembled by hand, and other electronic parts, which can be bought in most cities, are assembled by the community. With a simple circuit panel drill and soldering, an upgrade night solar LED light and mobile charger can be built and inserted into the already installed day solar bulb, providing 10 additional hours of power at night. Building solar products in the village not only builds skills and knowledge of repairing the devices. It also creates a grassroots green economy through enabling local entrepreneurs and women's groups to make a business by selling the LED and mobile chargers to other villages. With growing customer numbers, parts can be supplied by a coordinating social business at a small profit to cover operations and transport. The program was tested with several women's cooperatives in the Metro Manila area. So far, 200 solar night lights have been built and installed in locations throughout the national capital region. The Liter of (night) Light currently costs about $ 20 to make. Liters of (day) Light have been installed in more than 120,000 homes in the Philippines, saving $ 14.4 million off of electricity bills and 28 tons of carbon from being released into the atmosphere every year.

FIRE


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