A solar lantern made in Africa

We have created an affordable solar lantern, the first to be made in Africa. Help us to mass produce it and bring 21st century lighting to the poor.
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Simon Lule
Environment
Kampala
Uganda
1 Team Member

Update

We would like to thank you all that supported our campaign in any way. 

We didn’t quite raise enough money to buy the plastic moulding machinery we hoped to buy, however, we have made the most of the amount we raised; we decided to try 3d printing, so far we have 3 printers which enables us to make up to 6 items a day, the good thing about 3d printing is that the printers themselves are relatively cheap, therefore it will be possible to expand our capacity by buying new 3d printers.

We also bought a filament makers which helped to cut the cost of filament by 50%.

The advantage of this change is that the new product is slimmer, lighter, better looking and most importantly requires less handwork than the old design.

The disadvantage is that the plastic we use, PLA, is much more expensive than the old plastic which has increased the cost of production. 

Once again, many thanks to you all!!!

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Original Campaign

We are Masa Energy, a start up company based in Uganda, East Africa, and our goal to make affordable solar products for the millions of people in Africa without access to electricity.

Our first product is a portable solar lantern that is easy to use and costs just $12, a price that is affordable for most people.

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The problem

Whatever their reasons, African governments have failed in their duty to provide basic infrastructure such as electricity to the majority of their population. The situation is such that in many countries less than 1/4 of the population has access to electricity.

Source: World Bank

As a result, many people, especially in rural areas, still rely on solutions that their grandparents relied upon, like kerosene lamps.

There are many disadvantages to kerosene lamps and here are some of them:

1. Poor quality of light

As you can see from the pictures above, with kerosene light it’s difficult to see from just one meter away. School children who use them to do homework would have to seat really close to the lamp, which increases their exposure to the hazardous smoke.  


2. Pollution 

Much of the fuel from Kerosene lamps turns into pollutant smoke. Research has shown that kerosene lamps add up to 3% to global black carbon emissions.

Source: niehs.nih.gov


3. Health risks

The World Bank estimates that breathing kerosene fumes is the equivalent of smoking two packets of cigarettes a day.

Also from the World bank; two-thirds of adult females with lung cancer in developing nations are non-smokers.

Source: BBC


4. Cost

In Uganda the average kerosene user spends $0.20 on fuel, that will power the lamp for 4 hours.

For low income families $0.20 can mean 10% or 20% of their daily income. And on days when there’s no money to buy the fuel, the whole family has to go to bed as soon as it gets dark. 

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Our Solution?

We have created a solar lantern that is much, much brighter than a kerosene lamp.


No pollution:

It charges under sunlight, stores the energy in its rechargeable batteries and uses an energy efficient LED bulb. The batteries can last over 2 years.

Battery life is 12 hours when fully charged; this ensures that even if the user misses a day of charging, a rainy day for example, there will still be enough energy for them to use (the average user needs light for 4 hours).


And most importantly for the target customer, it’s cheaper than kerosene use:  

The solar lantern costs $12, this is a one off cost and it comes with a 1 year warranty.

If you compare that to the cost of kerosene fuel, which is $0.20 per day, you can see that the lantern will pay for itself in just 60 days. 

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Why we need your Help

We currently make these lanterns using the home-made tools pictured above (You can see the making process in our video). 

We had a limited budget from the beginning but felt it was important to prove the product was feasible before trying to raise capital. We have proven that the product is feasible but have been unable to raise the capital we need to buy machinery.

In Uganda there are no venture capitalists or angel investors and every bank we’ve spoken to wants collateral. 

With this IndieGoGo campaign, we are hoping to raise money to;

  1. Buy plastic moulding machinery
  2. Rent factory space

If we raise enough money, we would also;

  1. Work on a solar mobile phone charger (many customers inquire about this).
  2. Work on a brighter version of our solar lantern.
  3. Hire more people to help us with the work.
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Some pictures of how people are using our lanterns:


A business that sells fruits and vegetables uses the lantern to light up the kiosk at night.

A poultry breeder uses the lantern to light up the pen over night. 


$8,379USD
raised by 150 people in 1 month
28% funded
No time left
$30,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on February 28, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $1USD
    Every little helps

    Thank you for pushing us a step further to our funding goal!

    20 claimed
  • $25USD
    A thank you email

    We will send you a personal email thanking you for your support.

    33 claimed
  • SOLD OUT

    $100USD
    Our hand-made solar lantern

    We will send you one of our solar lanterns. It is unique because it's hand-made. It can serve as a camping light, bedside lamp or as a collectors item!

    20 out of 20 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2014
  • $500USD
    Super Sponsor

    A big donation greatly increases our chances of raising enough money. You will receive one of our hand-made solar lanterns as well as a hand-written postcard to say thank you.

    4 out of 20 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2014
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