Olafur Eliasson’s sustainable lamp brings light to African off-grid communities

Renowned Danish-Icelandic artist and designer Olafur Eliasson designed and produced a portable photovoltaic lamp aimed to provide a sustainable source of light to African communities who still do not have access to electricity.

Appointed Little sun, the lamp is manufactured and sold by a company of the same name, founded by Eliasson with the engineer Frederik Ottesen in 2012. The social enterprise model is to sell the lamp at a higher (but very reasonable) price in developed countries in order to provide it at an affordable cost to off-grid communities, especially in Africa, which do not have currently no access to artificial lighting or the use of expensive and highly polluting light sources such as kerosene lamps.

In addition, in addition to providing a cheap and environmentally friendly source of light to potentially over 1.1 billion people without access to energy, the project also creates opportunities for young entrepreneurs and small businesses. local communities in Africa and other economically underdeveloped regions around the world.

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A trader selling Little Sun Original lamps in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia © Helen Zeru

Currently, Little Sun produces three models of lamps. Called Petit Soleil Original, the first model, designed in 2012, consists of a recyclable ABS plastic case, a 60 × 60 mm monocrystalline solar panel, an LED bulb, a dimmer and a rechargeable battery of 400 mAh; the total weight is only 96 grams.
When charged for five hours, the lamp can provide light for 4 to 50 hours, depending on the desired light intensity (which ranges from 2 to 29 lumens).
This is sufficient to create a sufficient level of light for children to read books and study after dark, families to cook and do their homework, improve the personal safety of women and children. girls, to provide emergency lighting for refugees and displaced people, to enable a Saharan rural health sub-center to operate at night.

The other two solar light models are Small Sun Charge, combining a lamp and a charger for small electronic devices, and Small Diamond Sun, a flashlight that also incorporates a metal holder.

To date, more than 660,000 Little Sun lamps have been distributed worldwide, of which more than 330,000 have gone to off-grid communities in ten African countries and other parts of the world. Little Sun lamps can be purchased online and at select authorized stores.

All images are courtesy of Little Sun GmbH, Berlin, http://littlesun.com/

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Little Sun Original on the road © Nicky Angunwa

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Little Sun Original, front and back view; © Petit Soleil

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Little Sun Original with packaging and information booklet © Studio Olafur Eliasson

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Shadows with Little Sun Original © Franziska Russo

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Children studying with Little Sun Original © Maddalena Valeri

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Little Sun Original in a grocery store in Burundi © Aminata Nimaga

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The lamp can also be used as a portable lighting device; © Petit Soleil

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Little Sun sales training in Burundi © Imagine Burundi

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Little Sun Charge in a tailor’s workshop © Gontse Phatstoki


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