Sponsored content: The rise of solar energy is changing the way we power lighting around the world
Solar energy plays an important role in the fight against climate change.
While global access to electricity has increased, 940 million people are still disconnected from the electricity grid. Solar technology can help more people access cheap, portable and clean electricity to alleviate poverty and improve the quality of life.
But it can also enable developed countries and those who are the largest consumers of fossil fuels to make the transition to sustainable alternatives.
Signify, formerly Philips Lighting, recognizes the need for creative new ways to improve access to electricity while reducing energy consumption and is leading the advancement of solar powered lighting.
In India, Philips launched LifeLight, a portable solar-powered lantern specially designed for regions with limited access to electricity.
“The lack of light after dark is the biggest factor that causes women to feel insecure in their communities,” said Prajna Khanna, director of CSR at Signify.
“The introduction of LifeLight off-grid is helping transform the lives of people in these communities. It extends their day for commercial activities, education and community life, ”she added.
This was supplemented by the installation of around 84,000 solar street lights in the country so that the local people feel safer and more connected.
By 2050 – when the world has to be climate neutral – an additional infrastructure for a further 2 billion people will be built.
Now is the time for emerging economies, bypassing carbon-intensive choices, to move to smarter technologies for cleaner, more reliable, zero-carbon energy sources.
In the northern Indian state of Haryana, Signify recently teamed up with the SRF Foundation, an NGO that promotes quality education to give young people the opportunity to do sports.
In the first phase, the project illuminated five badminton courts with high-mast solar LEDs. This has benefited the physical health, confidence and athletic skills of 1,200 school children who only had lunch breaks to practice badminton prior to the project.
In addition to long-term projects, solar energy is also an efficient lighting solution for immediate needs and emergency aid.
BRAC, the world’s largest NGO, has partnered with Signify to distribute LifeLight solar lanterns to more than 46,000 Rohingya families in Bangladesh’s refugee camps. This will help improve the quality of life by supporting basic needs.
“These clean solar-powered lights make camps a much safer place at night and therefore make a much-needed contribution to the lives of people who spend days in unimaginable trouble,” said Asif Saleh, senior director of strategy, communications and empowerment at BRAC and BRAC International.
Because lighting can only have long-term positive impacts on communities if the skills required to maintain these technologies are in place, the Signify Foundation offers technical training and business development assistance to members of remote communities to promote the sustainability of green businesses.
Solar lighting should also be promoted in the global north.
In the Spanish city of Seville, Signify installed 20 solar street lights to respond to the surge in the number of visitors who go to the park at night.
The lamp, the Philips SunStay, consists of a photovoltaic panel, a charge controller, a battery and the LED light in a compact housing unit that simplifies installation and maintenance. You also do not need an electrical connection to the mains.
A motion sensor that detects movement and increases or decreases the intensity of the light accordingly promotes energy efficiency, which is an important tool in combating climate change.
More recently, Signify has been experimenting with hybrid solar systems.
The Philips Combo Charge Controller allows street lights to run on clean solar power while accessing the grid when the battery is empty.
This makes hybrid a viable option for high latitude countries where sunshine may be less reliable and daylight is more dependent on the seasons.
Ultimately, a paradigm shift is taking place in which solar energy is no longer traced back to places where the existing infrastructure is missing, but is viewed as an important part of the global energy mix – the alternative becomes the new norm.
This post was sponsored by Signify. You can find information on this in our editorial guidelines.