A Liter of Light

How a tiny Filipino Ngo went from distributing a modified plastic bottle to starting a solar revolution

It all started in the shantytowns, where millions of people all over the world are forced to live in darkness even in broad daylight. The shacks are often windowless, or so crammed that no light can get through, while electric power is too expensive or simply nonexistent.

In 2011, a Filipino Ngo called Liter of Light figured out a way of turning a plastic bottle, with a few simple components, into a lamp which, by day or on a full moon night, casts a light equivalent to that of a 55-watts bulb. They started distributing the bottles in Manila’s slums, bringing light into the life of thousands of people. Then the Ngo added to the bottle a basic electronic circuit, a solar panel and a battery, thus enabling it to store energy and to work at night. Then the bottle became a modified portable solar lantern, and eventually even a lamp post, providing public lighting to communities which had never experienced it before.

Now, Liter of Light has conceived a formula based on micro credit and crash courses which turn farmers and slum dwellers into solar engineers, so that they can service the lamps when they break or build them from scratch and become completely self sufficient. And it is spreading this formula all over the world, effectively fueling a solar revolution.