Solar for Africa Blog
Small solar lights are set to transform the way rural Africa lights up its homes in much the same way mobile phones have transformed the way people communicate. This site is all about this solar revolution which is taking place…right now.

Reflections from the plane…

I’m sat on a plane right now typing this enroute to see the SunnyMoney teams in Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya. Plane rides tend to give me time to reflect a little and I just feel the need to put this out there…

In 2006 SolarAid was born out of enthusiastic, like minded, volunteers in the UK and we installed our first solar system on a community centre in Malawi in 2007. You can imagine the momentum, the feel good factor, which circled around this installation! An idea was becoming a reality. It was simply – great.

Between 2007 and 2011, we then went on to grow from a team of two staff to having a team of around 50 people, running programmes across 5 countries and setting up SunnyMoney as SolarAid’s social enterprise to implement this work. (Alot of work, but a great deal of fun too!)

Here’s a couple of the reflections…the pause on this plane ride….

By April 2012, we’d:

  • Completed our 415th solar installation (which today light up rural schools, clinics and community centres across Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia). That’s  tens of thousands of people now benefiting from access to electricity, improved education and health facilities…a better life.  We were so excited by just one installation … so I think you get the picture of how proud everyone who has made this possible over the years should feel. (You know who you are!)
  • Sold over 51,000 picosolar lights, which are now lighting up rural homes, each and every night making life better for hundreds of thousands  of people who no longer have to buy kerosene for light.   And here’s the thing … In March 2012, in one month, we sold over 12,000 solar lights … more than we sold in the whole of 2010/11. 

So yes….we’re scaling up. I am pausing again here. One light was exciting. 51,000 is…. Wow –  it’s been quite a journey!

But it does not stop here.  I’m relishing what comes next….

We’ve just put together plans to sell over 300,000 solar lights this year.  It will be truly amazing if we achieve this.  In fact, it’s my job, as the Managing Director of SunnyMoney, to make sure we do…so we’d better!  If we do achieve that, the sky really is the limit.

I hope whoever reads this is as excited as I am by all of this. This is not the usual hype you might get from any old company – I don’t think hype is actually my forte.

This is passion – because what we do really makes a difference and the more people who join this small, but growing sector, the better!

More posts from Malawi and Zambia soon…

3 Responses to “Reflections from the plane…”

  1. Very encouraging.Any plans for Nigeria?

  2. The feel good factor must have been fantastic.


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