By Ben Coxworth
Kerosene can be nasty stuff. Kerosene lanterns in particular can lead to fires, explosions, asphyxiation, and toxic fumes. In some of the world’s poorest regions, unfortunately, kerosene lanterns are the standard form of nighttime lighting. The folks over at England’s Plus Minus Solar tell us that every 20 seconds, someone is killed by such a device. That’s why Plus Minus has developed a solar-powered light called the Solar Pebble, that is targeted for humanitarian use in sub-Saharan Africa… or for patio use in suburban London.
The rain- and dust-proof LED Solar Pebble is powered by batteries that are charged by a small-but-efficient 6-volt solar panel. One 12-hour charge can light a room for an entire day and a ratchet handle allows the Pebble to be placed at the optimum solar-gathering and/or light-providing angle. It has built-in strap slots, so it can easily be carried, plus it can charge cell phones and other mobile devices.
Not only is the Solar Pebble cleaner than kerosene, but it’s also cheaper. Apparently the product should cost less than one-tenth what African villagers are annually spending on kerosene. Plus Minus hopes to launch the Solar Pebble in Uganda this June or July, funded by sales of the product at home in the UK – it could also be just the thing for campers and festival-goers. No word on price yet, other than that it should be under £30 (about US$46).