Bloomberg drops $5 million for off-grid solar lamp art in Africa

little sun photo
© Merklit Mersha via Little Sun

Solar power is the cheapest option for new electricity across much of the developing world, but financial support to purchase it is still needed. Bloomberg Philanthropies, Bloomberg's philanthropical body, has decided to fill that need for a large number of African families by sending along £3 million (~$5 million). However, it isn't 100% charity; it's a loan.

The £3 million will go to Little Sun, a company that is bringing solar lamps to people across Africa in order to replace dirty, health-damaging, and climate-damaging kerosene lamps. The £3 million is a low-interest loan, so Bloomberg is still expecting to make some money on it.

Tate Modern/Promo image

However, there's no denying that Bloomberg is a passionate advocate for climate action and improving public health. He was a strong leader on those points while New York City Mayor. Right after finishing his work as mayor, Bloomberg was appointed as the United Nations Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change.

"Too many families are forced to breathe in toxic kerosene fumes because they don't have access to electricity," Bloomberg said. "Solar-powered lights can improve their health and at the same time, protect our environment by keeping pollutants out of the air they breathe."

Regarding the solar lamps that Little Sun is distributing, they are of course the super efficient LED type. The company sells these LED solar lamps in Zimbabwe, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Senegal, Ethiopia, and South Africa. Notably, the solar lamps were designed by an artist, Olafur Eliasson, and an engineer, Frederik Ottesen. Here's a video for more info on Little Sun:

Little Sun in 2 Minutes from Little Sun on Vimeo.

Think this little thing looks familiar? Perhaps you caught one of our previous stories on the solar lamp:

  • Little Sun Solar Light Is Both Life Saver and Work of Art

  • Little Sun is a Cheap Solar Light and a Work of Art

  • Tags: Africa | LEDs | Solar Energy | Solar Power | Solar Technology