SociaLite Lighting Systems (SLS) Inc. is an American non-profit organization established in August 2017 that started life in 2006 in a first year, first semester engineering class, EID101—Engineering Design and Problem Solving, at The Cooper Union in New York City. The students were challenged to design a lighting system for the poorest of the poor—with all the ramifications therein. At the time, no one imagined that 11 years later the project would be alive, and that a company would be formed to promulgate the idea and the system.
SociaLite Lighting Systems’s primary mission is to work towards simultaneously alleviating and raising awareness of light poverty. We raise funds to develop, source and distribute affordable, solar powered, portable light sources and mobile phone charging facilities to extremely impoverished, remote communities in less industrialized countries. The product's unique and highly-accessible simplistic design mechanic allows for unskilled labor to assemble these systems close to the point of end use. SLS believes that by gaining access to these valuable, life-improving resources, light and electrical power, communities have greater opportunity for advancement through increased access to education and business opportunities at a local level. We educate communities on the manufacture and operation of these systems—thereby providing opportunities for entrepreneurship through sub-system assembly, system installation, operation and maintenance.
Funds are solicited to light a cluster of 10 communities in north western Ghana. Field trials over the past decade have proven that such a cluster can be locally assembled, installed and operated.
We seek $25,000 for this last field trial, a large scale demonstration of a lighting service for impoverished communities.
In the USA, these funds will be used to procure and ship electronic components—a very small proportion going to system tuning. The remaining funds will be transferred to our partner in Ghana, SociaLite Enterprises, to purchase components in Ghana, Togo and Burkina Faso, and used to pay for the training, assembly and installation of these systems.
SociaLite lighting and charging systems are not free. Users pay a small deposit on acquisition of a lantern, followed by a monthly charging fee—adjusted to match community assets. Users pay on a per use basis for cell phone charging. These income streams pay off the capital cost of system installation, day to day operation and maintenance. Fees in excess currently remain in country and are used for lantern battery replacement and recycling.