Gallery: BOGOLIGHT: Solar Powered Flashlight

 

We love those massive solar arrays that bring power to the cities. But it is very easy to forget the amount of capital and infrastructure required to bring a project of that scale to life. So how can the developing world benefit from solar power? Well, believe it or not, you can help! (and help yourself at the same time) by purchasing a BoGolight – a solar powered flashlight that is designed and distributed in an ingenious way to provide inexpensive solar power to the rural poor around the world. Not only is the BoGolight a great design: shining for 5 hours straight and lasting 20 years, but with every BoGolight bought in the U.S., another identical solar flashlight will be donated to needy people in developing countries who don’t have access to electricity.

There are around two billion people living on this planet without easy access to electricity or light. The Bogolight attempts to solve this problem. So, what is the BoGolight? It is essentially a solar powered flashlight similar to those that you have seen at electronics stores worldwide. So, you may ask yourselves, what makes BoGolight so intriguing? well “BoGo” stands for Buy one, Give one. In other words, for every light that you purchase, another identical lamp will be distributed by organizations like UNHCR (United Nations Refugee Agency).

So, if you need a flashlight, you may want to think about this option. After all, what better gift than the gift of light?

+ BoGolight + BoGolight in the New York Times

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12 Comments

  1. oseimensah May 15, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    dear sir,
    am in ghana and wil like to be your agent here in ghana,especially of your solar product.this is where i may be reached 233206230027. hopping to here from you soon.

  2. horse mad girl March 13, 2008 at 9:09 am

    how much does it cost?

  3. Patrick June 19, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    Girlgeek has some good points. However, if you intend to sell them rather than giving them away, you run into the issue of even a relatively small price being an insurmountable barrier to some of the poorest people. Remember that in some places even one or two US dollars would be a high price and to be properly “economic” the light would have to be sold at least at cost (meaning $4-10 including distribution). Also, you have to look at what you are competing against. Kerosene is inherently hazardous, both in regards to fires and to a lesser extent to harmful fumes. This kind of product will certainly reduce the number of burn injuries. In some areas trees are being cut down for light and fuel. This “free” resource is however very limited and is under great pressure from overuse. Even though this would not stop wood from being used for cooking fuel, it would reduce it’s need for lighting.

  4. Janey Ward June 10, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    This is brilliant.

    Millions of children suffer disfiguring burns or death because of kerosene lanterns-not to mention fuel costs 30% of the average $1/day income most families earn.

    NGO’s will be helpful getting these to market and yes, commerce is key to a community so subsidies make alot of sense.

    I recently learned of a company that provides an additional light/power source that would work nicely in tandem with this product. Each product could recharge the other in a community.

    Check out: dlightdesign.com

  5. tizio June 1, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    Hmmm.
    I would like to commend the efforts of such a project. It is without a doubt that there is much need for such things in the developing world. However, this is not a new project as the company seems to proudly boast. There are a number of efforts currently in place to address lighting concerns. Probably the initiative came from lutw.org.

    Also, all of Girlgeek’s points are valid. She is right by stating that charity is the wrong approach. Problems generally cannot be solved by handouts. When you introduce a seemingly better something for free, it undermines the existing economic infrastructure that is already in place. The point is that there are many people making a living selling kerosene, lanterns, candles, etc. They are working for their livelihood. When a wash of free replacements comes around, it has a great potential to adversely affect their earnings. A better approach may be to source the lights to people who need them through the pre-existing infrastructure of kerosene sales. Get local people to sell these lights instead of kerosene. Have people buy them to help stimulate local economies and have more pride in what they purchase. A hand-out never has as much value as something that is earned.

    The hook: it’s an OK approach, but it’s just so limiting. How about some other options as to how this light can be oriented? A headlamp seems like it would do more for many working/detailed tasks.

    “How would you lock them down?” There has to be at least a dozen ways to do that. It’s not too much to ask for. This problem and others can be solved through the design process of the light. This is a good first try. A second effort is sure to be better.

  6. Simo June 1, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Girlgeek, can you explain what you meant in your first point – you want them sold to the people there for a subsidised price? Instead of just giving it to them? As for the last point, how would you lock them down? There’s only so much you can do with a cheap torch…

    Either way this is a good scheme, glad to see it happening. Pity you can’t get them in the UK – I’ll have to stick with my wind up one for now.

  7. royalestel June 1, 2007 at 11:38 am

    Good point girlgeek. Really good points.

  8. Alan Hurst June 1, 2007 at 10:48 am

    Where do I get the Bogolight in South Florida?

  9. J June 1, 2007 at 9:09 am

    girl geek: I agree with you, however you will notice the flashlight has a hook on the top. this is to adress you second concern. The hook allows the flashlight to be hung in a hut and shine light down for activities requiring two hands. Your other two points are very valid however. What distresses me most is the lack of mention of the LRC , the Lighting Research Center, on the bogolight website. I had the pleasure of handling one of the prototypes of this flashlight and talking to students who worked on it, they were very clever and deserve recognition for their hardwork. Either their design was ripped off, or the sponsor CEO decided to take all the credit.

  10. girlgeek June 1, 2007 at 5:36 am

    How odd to find myself opposed to something this nice looking on the surface. Three concerns:

    These flashlights are given away??? Why? If this company is really successful they are competing with the market women or stores selling lamps and kerosine, and establish some charity as a distribution network. How much better it would be to sell these items at a subsidized price to be sold retail at a price competitive with kerosine lamps, thereby supporting commerce in the recipient country.

    Second. In the US we use a flashlight to find the latrine when we are out camping. In a country without an electric infrastructure a lamp is used to prepare dinner, study, and sit around while visiting. A hands free design would be more useful in such situations.

    Third, these flashlights need to sit outside in the full sun all day. Things sitting around outside tend to grow legs. It would be better if there were some manner of lock down for the item.

  11. Thom May 31, 2007 at 10:06 am

    If this type of buy one give one program could be implemented for lifestraw http://www.lifestraw.com/. we in the “developed” countries could go a long way towards solving the persistent problems of non-developed countries.

  12. royalestel May 31, 2007 at 9:04 am

    This is good. This is very good.

    I was reading on the bogolight website that the LEDs don’t attract malarial mosquitoes like the common kerosene lamps do. This light could lower the risk of contracting malaria for those that use them!

    These could also help reduce groundwater mercury contamination from disposable batteries, according to their website: “Our products are powered by rechargeable batteries, which only need to be replaced every two to three years, and we are also working on a buy-back/exchange program.”

    Heck even “evil, big oil” has gotten in on the act:”Our lights have also been bulk purchased by multinational corporations such as Exxon Mobil and Perenco, as part of their community assistance programs. ”

    The idea of a solar powered water purifier really struck a nerve. That would truly alleviate much suffering.

    I had no idea such a simple thing as an LED flashlight could have so much potential for good.

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