The Role of Reliable Solar-powered Lighting in Modern Day Disaster Relief Efforts

The Role of Reliable Solar-powered Lighting in Modern Day Disaster Relief Efforts

What would you call basic human needs? Food, water and shelter? At least, that’s what Maslow tells us. But what if we changed the context, would these three still be the only basic needs?

That is precisely what happens when disaster strikes. Be it through the brute force of nature like earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis or through man-made acts like wars, many families are displaced or separated. What is considered a basic need quickly changes. 

The risk of separation is even bigger in many hastily-built refugee camps where the population can be larger than an urban city. This is where innovation in solar - powered lighting and energy solutions are necessitated. Today, thanks to rapid innovation in the segment, solar lamps come with phone charging capabilities, enabling families to keep in touch with their loved ones during these times. This became amply clear during the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that killed around 220,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless – one of the first disasters where aid workers could attempt a large-scale distribution of solar systems.

Solar lighting becomes a basic need for refugees who often depend on dirty fuels which not only becomes a fire-hazard in their tents but also lead to respiratory diseases due to inhaling their toxic fumes. Lack of safe, clean lighting may also increase the risk of sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence as people are more vulnerable in dark camps. The need for a highly reliable, efficient and portable solar lighting solution is higher in these situations.

Companies like Greenlight Planet provide products that can be used for mobile charging, ensuring connectivity for families. They are also on a mission to continuously improve three key technologies – solar photovoltaic cells, batteries, and LEDs (light emitting diodes) to offer reliable solar lighting where it is needed the most. The unique design of the Sun King range of lamps from Greenlight Planet ensure that they can be hung anywhere, transported easily and offer bright light that is 16 times brighter than the light of one candle or a kerosene lamp. The battery technology ensures that these lights can last up to 45 hours continuously on a single charge. These lamps have been found to be indispensable in disaster relief in Nepal, Fiji, Philippines, Rwanda and other disaster hit countries around the world.

Solar energy offers hope that people in crisis can spend scarce resources on putting their lives back together. However, funding remains a fundamental problem. As per the latest UN report, the number of displaced people in the world has reached an all-time high of 65.3 million. It is therefore imperative that aid organizations around the world join hands with clean energy companies to build access to the fundamental needs of the refugees.

About Greenlight Planet

Greenlight Planet Inc. has sold nearly 6.5 million Sun King solar home energy products to off-grid households around the world. As leaders in the solar market, Greenlight Planet reaches remote off-grid customers through a unique business model involving a vast network of micro entrepreneurs, more than 200 global strategic distribution partners, and its proprietary EasyBuy (“pay-as-you-go”) instalment payment technology that makes safe, high-quality solar energy products affordable for all. Winners of 2016 Ashden Awards, Greenlight Planet is currently present in 50+ countries and serves over 30 million consumers.

 Find out more on

Greenlight Planet will be participating at the Aid and Development Africa Summit 2017. For more information visit

Be part of the humanitarian aid and development community!

Register now to receive AIDF's newsletter with insights into latest trends, innovations and best practice in the humanitarian and development sectors