The Solar Impulse Foundation, started by Dr. Bertrand Piccard following his successful round-the-world solar flight, has launched the #1000solutions challenge: to select, label and promote 1000 clean, efficient and profitable solutions to fight climate change.
While it is crucial to work towards achieving every Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), “ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” (SDG7) is a cornerstone of sustainable development, as many other SDG are directly reliant on energy access.
Solutions such as mini-grids and standalone solar systems are often the fastest and most efficient way to connect the roughly 1 billion people who still lack access to reliable electricity. The Solar Impulse Foundation firmly believes in the power of decentralized renewable energy and shares Power for All’s belief “that modern, clean technology can now leapfrog slow, inefficient and centralized systems”.
The Foundation is therefore committed to promoting decentralized solutions, helping them scale and advocating for their rapid deployment to business and political leaders around the world.
The following 3 solutions have already been labelled by the Solar Impulse Foundation following a strict assessment by independent experts of their technological feasibility, environmental impact and financial viability. If you want to get the Solar Impulse Efficient Solutions Label and be part of the #1000solutions challenge, submit your solution here.
Once labelled, companies access a wide range of services offered by the Solar Impulse Foundation, such as business opportunities, exclusive access and reduced fees to major cleantech events, match-making with cleantech investors, presentations to policy-makers…
PowerCorner is a generation and storage unit powered by solar panels, aka a mini-grid. The company, launched by Engie, has developed a system where clients pay a deposit upfront for their connection fee and receive a smart meter for charging the consumption using a phone payment app. While providing cheap and renewable energy, the startup replaces old polluting devices, which are common in rural communities, by leasing efficient appliances. Its first project in the rural town of Ketumbeine has proven to be a big success, with 120 household connected, allowing economic opportunities and development in this village 50 km away from the grid.
Kerosene lamps, a common way to get lighting for many people who lack connection to the grid, are a threat to human health, economic development and the environment: they emit poisonous fumes and CO2, and are highly flammable. They are also expensive: according to SolarAid, some families spend up to 15% of their household income on kerosene, “locking them in a cycle of poverty”.
hiLyte is an iron-based battery that requires only iron, iron salt and paper. The chemical reaction of these elements together produces electricity. The battery’s simple design makes it very cheap to buy and the abundance of the needed elements makes it cheap to use. The battery is mainly used for light and for phone charging, which is a key element for socio-economic development in developing countries.
Currently testing their product in Tanzania, hiLyte has launched a crowdfunding campaign to start selling their lamps widely throughout Africa. Want to help them? Do it here!
InSolar is a Brazil-based social business dedicated to promoting and democratizing the access to solar energy through the installation of solar panels in low-income communities. Not only does InSolar harness the power of the sun, but through their community-based approach, their impact goes far beyond sustainability. They focus primarily on local workforce training, enabling local communities to find a job or to start their own business.
Through these few decentralized renewable energy examples providing reliable, sustainable, cheap electricity, it appears clearly that such technologies can have a tremendous impact on local communities. Their benefits are countless: training workers, creating jobs, allowing kids to study, improving people’s health, providing access to efficient appliances and more.