Solarcentury donations to SolarAid deliver solar lights to African homes

As solar panels break records for UK electricity generation in May and June, the company that has installed the biggest share of them, Solarcentury, is lighting up African homes, as well as British ones.

Solarcentury donates 5% of its annual profits to a charity of its own design, SolarAid, which sells solar lights to Africans, not-for-profit, so they can resell them, for profit, thereby creating jobs and catalysing markets in solar lighting. £696,000 has been donated to SolarAid since 2012 in profits derived from sunlight falling on the UK.

With this money SolarAid has delivered 174,000 solar lights to Africa (of the 1.9 million they have sold in total). These 174,000 lights have delivered light at night for 757,000 people, saving them £25.2 million from kerosene they no longer need to buy, allowing children 175 million extra homework hours, saving 184,000 tonnes of CO2 and improving the health of 371,000 people.

Solarcentury and SolarAid founder Jeremy Leggett, currently acting CEO of SolarAid, said: “Anyone who has seen the joy on African faces when a solar light is turned on a dark home will understand the thrill this work brings to those of us involved in it. It is particularly motivating, as famine stalks the continent, to be able to provide a licence for the poorest of the poor to scoop dollar bills off the ground in handfuls every year simply by getting rid of one category of oil use – kerosene for lamps. A small but powerful solar light can retail for as little as £4. Once that is paid, the lighting is free for the 3-5 years the solar light lasts. Burning kerosene for light costs you around £50 per year in the areas we work in, so this is a some payback. It is a great way to help people help themselves.”

Solarcentury CEO Frans van den Heuvel said: “I know the team at Solarcentury is incredibly proud of the social good that comes from our donations of a tiny margin of profits to SolarAid. We hope to be donating much more in the future! I would urge other companies, solar or otherwise, to join us. Our experience is that the donation is actually an investment – in team culture – that has an intangible value in excess of the sums donated”.