In the grid-connected world, lights are taken for granted, and when it's too dark to see, we just turn on another one. It's not nearly so easy as that for the estimated 3 billion people who are either not on the grid, or can't afford the grid; for them, working or studying after dark means lighting a kerosene or oil lamp, or a candle, if they can afford it. And that type of energy poverty is just not acceptable in this day and age, according to the folks at MPOWERD.
MPOWERD, or Micro Power Design, is the technology incubator that invented Luci, a solar-powered lantern that provides clean, dependable lighting in off-grid situations.
"Nearly half of the world’s population has no or irregular access to electricity and relies on dangerous and costly sources of lighting.
For this half of the world, nightfall often means the end of work, study and play, and the beginning of open flames, toxic fumes and danger. For people suffering in energy poverty, the dark of night is more than just an inconvenience.
Energy poverty is, in fact, a major contributor to the cycle of financial poverty and dependency on aid that strips communities of their dignity and the opportunity to change their lives." - MPOWERD
Luci is waterproof and collapsible, weighs just 4.5 ounces, and can be easily hung up on a wall or ceiling. This little lantern is powered by small solar panels connected to a lithium-ion battery, which delivers enough electricity in an 8 hour charge to light up an entire room for 6-12 hours. It features two brightness settings, so the lantern's set of 10 LED bulbs can function as either diffuse room lighting, or as a task light or flashlight.
These lights are not just for the developing world, either. Luci would make a great camping light, or fit right in with a home or auto emergency kit, or serve as a nightlight. And the coolest part of all about Luci, for those of us who already have dependable lighting, is that MPOWERD has a Buy 1 Give 1 program in place. For every Luci purchased through their website ($24.95), the company gives another Luci lantern to a person who truly needs it - someone who lives in energy poverty. So not only do you get a very cool solar-powered lantern, but you also help deliver solar justice by giving the gift of light to someone in need.
MPOWERD also has an Indiegogo campaign that is raising money to distribute more Lucis, bring down the costs of the units, and to further their research and development into other solutions to help alleviate energy poverty.