Solarcentury makes its biggest donation yet to SolarAid

Today, Solarcentury presented SolarAid with a gift of £98,000. SolarAid was founded by the UK’s leading solar company in 2006 and every year Solarcentury gives 5% of its net profits to SolarAid whose mission is to eradicate the kerosene lamp from Africa by 2020.

The money will be used to fund channels that allow SolarAid to successfully sell and distribute solar lights via their not-for-profit subsidiary, SunnyMoney. The SolarAid model is to sell the lights to African families at a fair market price in order to build a sustainable market for solar across the continent. £98,000 is the equivalent of 19,600 lights. For each home with a light, children are able to do their homework in the evening and the average family saves $85 per year on expensive and toxic kerosene. As well as educational and financial benefits, the families’ health is improved. In sub-Saharan Africa indoor smoke causes around 400,000 deaths a year and there is the clear and present danger of fire.

Frans van den Heuvel, CEO of Solarcentury said: “It makes us all very proud to witness SolarAid’s success. They are now the biggest distributor of solar lights in Africa having sold 847,154 lights to date. Establishing SolarAid has proven to be key to Solarcentury’s broader purpose: to make a big difference in the fight against climate change through widespread adoption of solar power.”

Sarah Howarth, Solarcentury’s Content and Design Manager, is currently working with Solarcentury and SolarAid on secondment in Kenya. She commented: “I chose to work in the solar industry knowing it would make a positive contribution to the environment and society. And it’s all the more rewarding when you see evidence of your hard work helping African families take steps out of energy poverty, and ultimately out of poverty itself. Knowing we are helping SolarAid succeed keeps you motivated when you’re having to push the extra mile.”

Andrew Webb, MD of SolarAid said: “The relationship between SolarAid and Solarcentury is a special one. For a growing charity such as SolarAid there is nothing more helpful than having dedicated supporters that share our vision and are with us for the long term. Solarcentury’s gift supports us in finding innovative ways of rapidly building the market for solar lights in Africa leading to the eradication of the Kerosene lamp by 2020. Without this vital support SolarAid wouldn’t be in the position we are today: running a social enterprise selling 65,000 solar study lamps a month.”

The donation of £98,000 represents 5% of Solarcentury’s net profits for the financial year ended March 2013. Other companies interested in supporting SolarAid’s work with a percentage of their profits should contact Corporate Partnerships Manager Tessa Kipping.