Solar Powered LED light maker Angaza Design launches in East Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America
Angaza co-founders Lesley Silverthorn Marincola and Bryan Duggan formed the idea for the SoLite while on a 2009 need-finding trip in Tanzania. After returning to the Bay Area, the Stanford engineers employed rapid prototyping and other aspects of human-centered design philosophy to further refine the product, keeping a watchful eye on affordability to the end-user. After subsequent trips to E. Africa, the field-tested product was finalized and put into factory production through socially-responsible manufacturers in China.
"We enjoyed co-creating the SoLite with our target users, and we wouldn't have gleaned the same design insights had we not returned to Tanzania again and again to test the quality, durability, and performance of the product, " says Angaza CEO Lesley Silverthorn Marincola. "Creating a product far from the target market threatens its success, and Angaza took every step to merge engineering talent and creativity with consumer needs and preferences."
The SoLite consists of a small, separated solar panel, designed to be permanently mounted to a user's roof, and an ultra bright LED lighting unit that can be hung from or screwed into a ceiling. The light illuminates an entire room and runs at its highest setting for 4 hours or at its low setting for 8 hours. A typical day of sunlight can fully charge the lithium-ion battery within the unit through high-efficiency photovoltaics.
Angaza's solar light outputs clean light 65 times brighter than a kerosene lantern, and can save families currently living on less than $2 per day over $150 per year. Its light fills an entire room, so a family can share the same light source at once. The Angaza SoLite can be mounted permanently to the ceiling, or hung in a variety of orientations using its attached wire hanger
Angaza is working with East African NGOs and local distributors to improve consumer access to the SoLite and create affordable financing options for all users who aren't serviced by an electrical grid system. The SoLite is currently available on Amazon for US users with interests in outdoor camping and emergency preparedness.
Angaza Design is a for-profit social business that employs human-centered design to create high-value technology products for individuals living in emerging markets. Angaza was founded in 2010 and borrows its name from the Swahili word meaning "to bring light". Visit their website here.