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D.LIGHT brightens up the lives of the poor

4. Environment

Energy / Greenhouse Gases (GHG)


Sam Goldman and Ned Tozun first met in 2005 while MBA students at Stanford University in a class called Designing for Extreme Affordability. Goldman had spent four years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, where he experienced the problems of living without electricity and relying on dangerous kerosene lamps. As a result of that experience, the two decided to focus on an affordable, scalable light solution.

According to United Nations data, a billion and a half people in the developing world - especially Asia and Africa - still depend on kerosene or candles to light their homes once the sun sets. Kerosene lamps are a key contributor to indoor air pollution, which claim the lives of 1.5 million people each year, over half of which are under the age of five (Millenium Development Goals Report 2007). Kerosene lamps have also caused countless deaths by suffocation, burns and fatal fires.  According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories (LBNL), the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions in the developing world comes from hazardous and expensive fuel-based sources such as kerosene. Every year, kerosene lamps are responsible for over 100 million tons of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.


- Enable households without reliable electricity to attain the same quality of life as those with electricity and to replace every kerosene lantern with clean, safe and bright light. 


Founders turned their class assignment into a solar-powered LED lamp prototype, and in 2006 decided to commercialize it under the name D.Light, working hard to refine the lamp for rural households without access to electricity. With a “Bottom of the Pyramid” approach, D.Light actively builds partnerships with major distributors, local dealers, and NGOs to reach semi-urban and rural households.  Their customers are at the center of everything they do with the goal to give them the most appropriate, durable, and affordable products possible.  D.Light has received over $ 6 million in venture funding.

D.Light product features: All D.light products are designed to withstand daily usage and harsh environmental conditions. Each individual product is carefully manufactured to ensure weather-resistance, ability to withstand a two-meter drop, and protection for internal circuitry from dust and insects. All lamp models offer 2 - 4 brightness settings. This allows our customers to optimize light output and energy usage based on their specific needs. The lamps can be carried, hung, or placed in various locations and in many different ways.  D.light’s Nova lamps are equipped with a Smart Battery Indicator to show when the battery is 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% full. The indicator flashes red when the battery is empty to prompt our customers for a full recharge. The lamps can also serve as an energy source for charging mobile phones. Mobile phones may be fully charged in as little as two hours.

D.Light also has plans to create partnerships with local micro-credit organizations to help those in financial difficulty gain the ability to purchase a lamp.


- The lamps are sold for between $12 and $25 and estimates that nearly a million people in 30 countries are currently using the company's lights.  By the end of 2010, D.light's goal is to reach between 2 million and 5 million more people.


- United Nations Development Program studies demonstrate that families with improved lighting have up to a 30% increase in income due to increased productivity at night. 

- D.light lamps are bright enough to facilitate longer and more effective studying hours, which directly lead to increased learning and higher test scores.

- The company provided 35,000 lights at its cost, taking no profit, to relief agencies for earthquake victims and using them for other relief efforts such as lighting hospitals in Haiti.

5 million $

Mise à jour le 23/05/2016

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