As various initiatives try to bring electricity to the globe’s most remote places (by way of solar energy), profitability looks to be blocking the light they bring. ISTANBUL, Turkey — Salinee Tavaranan has a quite determined face when she talks about solar energy and inclusive business. Nothing surprising, though—the entrepreneurial Thai woman is committed to both. She runs a local business installing solar panels in the off-grid villages of a mountainous area near the Myanmar-Thailand border. It’s one of the many remote rural places, still untouched by electricity, that compose “the last mile.”
SunSawang, her company, used to be a nongovernmental organization that aimed to implement and repair solar systems the Thai government bought in 2004 for the remote countryside.
Liter of Light Switzerland (LoL) is part of a larger movement that works towards bringing eco-friendly “bottled light” to communities with no electricity. Through the use of plastic bottles, water, bleach, sun and a bit of special glue, they aim to spread an alternative cheap source of energy.
As far as grass root foundations are concerned, they are plentiful and abundant. However it is unfortunate that few hit the mainstream media, and many forcibly diffuse just as quickly as they start. The ones that do succeed display certain characteristics and criteria that can be generalized to a relative extent. The criteria for such sustainable development projects can be narrowed down to cheap replication, effectiveness and ease of use. One such initiative that’s spreading around the globe is the Solar Bottle Lamp (it’s known by other names including the water-lamp, water-bottle-lamp etc.).