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Solaraid: promote a self-sufficient solar economy in developing countries.

4. Environment

Energy / Greenhouse Gases (GHG)


SolarAid was created in 2006 by former members of Solarcentury (1st solar company in UK), leaded by iconic Jeremy Leggett and Nick Sireau. SolarAid is the first British international development charity that promotes the use of solar energy to help reduce poverty in rural Eastern and Southern Africa (Kenya, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia ...) .

Solaraid research showed that the average household in a developing country spends between 10-20% of its income on kerosene for lighting, batteries for radios and charging mobile phones. Barely 2% of rural populations in most of Africa have access to electricity forcing them to rely on kerosene, candles, car batteries and firewood for fuel. However, kerosene is toxic, batteries are polluting and firewood collection leads to massive deforestation.


  •   Expand access to electricity and all the services induced (education, care, comfort, communication) by solar energy.
  •   Create a local economy in rural areas.
  •   Making the developing countries energy self-sufficient and less dependent on humanitarian assistance by training them to micro-franchise. Thereby contribute to fight against poverty.
  •   Improve the living conditions in general through education on solar energy and environmental protection by training to its proper use and recycling.


Unlike many NGOs and companies already sponsoring Africa with solar products (but in poor quality), SolarAid develops two complementary programs aimed at breaking the dependence of these communities on our aid. SolarAid has developed an innovative model of aid, giving responsibility to the people concerned, thanks to micro-franchise. When social entrepreneurship leads to economic development... while protecting the Planet.

Microsolar Programm “Sunny Money”: Entrepreneurs are selected to be trained in business planning, market research, sales and solar skills. They are accompanied throughout the launch of their "Sunny Money" branded microbusinesses. These solar products (provided by SolarAid) fulfill most households’ energy needs thus decreasing expenditure on kerosene and batteries and increasing income substantially. The profit earned by entrepreneurs is reinvested in their businesses for growth.

In 4 years, 122 entrepreneurs were trained, and 8500 products sold. Macrosolar Programm: In order to support rural areas, SolarAid work involves installing large solar systems in public utilities. Since its creation, 108 schools, 19 clinics, and 8 community centers have been equipped. To enhance communities, the panels are not provided for free but sold, yet at a symbolic price.



  •   A solid reputation (numerous awards) attracting funding from both the public  (City of London) and private sectors (such as Cate Blanchett)
  •   High ROI : For every £15 that it costs to train a SunnyMoney franchisee an estimated £176 will be generated each year. This is equal to around 60% of his or her yearly income.


  •   An average of 58% increase in income, leading to a greatly improved standard of living in rural areas.
  •   Reducing deforestation and CO² emissions (about 6000 T eq. C0² saved with the solar lamps)
  •   In 4 years : light was brought to over 10, 000 homes and 100, 000 can now access electricity.
  •   Solarising schools will lead to an average increase of 50% in work time and after-hour school usage for adult literacy.   Schools with lighting also have teacher retention.


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Nick Sireau (cofondateur), Intervenant au World Forum Lille 2010 – atelier « Social Business »

Mise à jour le 23/05/2016

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