Welcome!

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
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" ...
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of Soli...
The speed of software changes in growing and large scale rapid-paced DevOps environments presents a challenge for continuous testing. Many organizations struggle to get this right. Practices that work for small scale continuous testing may not be sufficient as the requirements grow. In his session at DevOps Summit, Marc Hornbeek, Sr. Solutions Architect of DevOps continuous test solutions at Spirent Communications, explained the best practices of continuous testing at high scale, which is rele...
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Hardware virtualization and cloud computing allowed us to increase resource utilization and increase our flexibility to respond to business demand. Docker Containers are the next quantum leap - Are they?! Databases always represented an additional set of challenges unique to running workloads requiring a maximum of I/O, network, CPU resources combined with data locality.
"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.
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
As software becomes more and more complex, we, as software developers, have been splitting up our code into smaller and smaller components. This is also true for the environment in which we run our code: going from bare metal, to VMs to the modern-day Cloud Native world of containers, schedulers and micro services. While we have figured out how to run containerized applications in the cloud using schedulers, we've yet to come up with a good solution to bridge the gap between getting your contain...
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
"We host and fully manage cloud data services, whether we store, the data, move the data, or run analytics on the data," stated Kamal Shannak, Senior Development Manager, Cloud Data Services, IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, discussed the impact of technology on identity. Sho...
Information technology (IT) advances are transforming the way we innovate in business, thereby disrupting the old guard and their predictable status-quo. It’s creating global market turbulence. Industries are converging, and new opportunities and threats are emerging, like never before. So, how are savvy chief information officers (CIOs) leading this transition? Back in 2015, the IBM Institute for Business Value conducted a market study that included the findings from over 1,800 CIO interviews ...