SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Roberto Medrano, Dmitriy Stepanov, Gilad Parann-Nissany, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, Sean Houghton

News Feed Item

Bloomberg Philanthropies Makes $5 Million Impact Investment in Little Sun, Creators of Solar-Powered Lamps Delivering Light to Off-Grid Populations in Africa

NEW YORK, April 22, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced a $5 million impact investment in Little Sun, creators of portable, solar-powered lamps designed by co-founders: artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen. The company works with local entrepreneurs to sell its lamps to households where electricity is scarce or unavailable, at prices that are affordable to families currently using costly and toxic kerosene for their lighting. Little Sun operates as a social business, created specifically to address a social problem rather than to maximize profits. 

This is Bloomberg Philanthropies first-ever impact investment and will provide a low interest rate loan that will allow Little Sun to grow, providing clean and affordable energy to homes, schools and local business in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Foundation undertook a rigorous due diligence process to evaluate the viability of the Little Sun business model and determined that solar powered lamps can provide enormous environmental and social benefits.

"Today, seven out of ten people lack access to even the most basic electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Over the next 20 years, Africa is poised to hold the world's largest un-electrified population," said Felix Hallwachs, Little Sun Managing Director and CEO. "The impact investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies will help us reach our goal of providing clean energy to homes, schools and local businesses, replacing toxic kerosene lamps everywhere we work. We consider access to clean, safe and sustainable energy a fundamental human right." 

Currently, households in Africa not connected to the electric grid can spend up to 20% of their total budgets on kerosene, which is the primary source of light for many of these households. Breathing kerosene toxins is also damaging to health – four hours alone is equal to smoking 40 cigarettes.  Additionally, global kerosene use has been estimated to emit up to 200 million tons of CO2 annually, which is the equivalent of emissions from approximately 60 large U.S. coal plants, heightening the need to develop sustainable alternatives.

To provide the greatest number of people with access to the benefits of solar-powered light, Little Sun's initial product is priced at the most affordable end of the spectrum of portable solar products. One solar-powered Little Sun light lasts for two to three years before needing a battery replacement, and can save households up to 90% over three years compared to what they would have spent on kerosene. The targeted price point still allows profits to be collected by the local entrepreneurs who sell the lights in their communities.

"Too many families are forced to breathe in toxic kerosene fumes because they don't have access to electricity. Solar-powered lights can improve their health - and at the same time, protect our environment - by keeping pollutants out of the air they breathe," said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. "Little Sun is bringing clean, safe, affordable light to people who don't have it today."

While other solar-powered lights are also available, Little Sun is unique in that it is the only light that is also a work of art, inspired by the power of sunlight and energy access.

"I am thrilled by the confidence that Michael Bloomberg and his great team at Bloomberg Philanthropies have shown toward our unique social business model and our aim to bring light to people living off the energy grid. To promote solar power in the shape of a Little Sun is to invest in radical change for the lives of many while, at the same time, caring for the planet we share. Holding hands with the sun is holding hands with the future," said Little Sun co-founder and artist Olafur Eliasson. "With a Little Sun in your hand, you become a power station - charging your lamp in the sun, you also empower yourself. Access to energy and light allows you to determine the direction of your life."

The lamp's exceptional design and engineering has made it popular, not just in areas without electricity but around the world. Little Sun is sold at museum stores and other outlets in regions including the U.S. and Europe, at a higher price, utilizing the profits from these sales to keep off-grid sales prices locally affordable and to kick-start local businesses in off-grid communities. The Little Sun project was launched in 2012 at the Tate Modern in London, where the lamp continues to be available for purchase. They are also available for purchase online and in museums, like the MoMA Design Store in New York City and select retail stores in the U.S. and Europe.

About the Little Sun Project
Little Sun is an innovative way to get clean, affordable light to the 1.6 billion people worldwide without access to the electrical grid. The Little Sun project was officially launched in July 2012 at London's Tate Modern and currently has distribution in Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, as well as in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, and the U.S.  The Little Sun social business also helps improve off-grid livelihoods by reducing household expenditures on expensive lighting fuels and by supporting off-grid entrepreneurs who can sell the lamps in their communities, generating local profits.  Little Sun engages in projects with partners such as art institutions, international agencies, NGOs, and the private sector to raise global awareness of energy access and solar power. For more information, click here, littlesun.com or visit us on Facebook, Twitter @LittleSun, or Instagram at littlesunenergy.

Contact -  [email protected]

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies' mission is to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Public Health, Environment, Education, Government Innovation and the Arts. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg's charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2013, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $452 million. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BloombergDotOrg.   

Contact: Meghan Womack, +212-205-0176, [email protected]

SOURCE Bloomberg Philanthropies

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The term culture has had a polarizing effect among DevOps supporters. Some propose that culture change is critical for success with DevOps, but are remiss to define culture. Some talk about a DevOps culture but then reference activities that could lead to culture change and there are those that talk about culture change as a set of behaviors that need to be adopted by those in IT. There is no question that businesses successful in adopting a DevOps mindset have seen departmental culture change, ...
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, a...
SYS-CON Media announced that Centrify, a provider of unified identity management across cloud, mobile and data center environments that delivers single sign-on (SSO) for users and a simplified identity infrastructure for IT, has launched an ad campaign on Cloud Computing Journal. The ads focus on security: how an organization can successfully control privilege for all of the organization’s identities to mitigate identity-related risk without slowing down the business, and how Centrify provides ...
SYS-CON Events announced today Isomorphic Software, the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications, will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software ...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo – to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – is now accepting Hackathon proposals. Hackathon sponsorship benefits include general brand exposure and increasing engagement with the developer ecosystem. At Cloud Expo 2014 Silicon Valley, IBM held the Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held the DevOps Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo fl...
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will w...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series dat...
There's Big Data, then there's really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, discussed how IoT, Big D...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrateg...
Fundamentally, SDN is still mostly about network plumbing. While plumbing may be useful to tinker with, what you can do with your plumbing is far more intriguing. A rigid interpretation of SDN confines it to Layers 2 and 3, and that's reasonable. But SDN opens opportunities for novel constructions in Layers 4 to 7 that solve real operational problems in data centers. "Data center," in fact, might become anachronistic - data is everywhere, constantly on the move, seemingly always overflowing. Net...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...