News & Insights
Impact in action: How solar lights brighten homes & futures
Francisco Sambrana, 34, lives with his wife and two young children in Las Conchas, Nicaragua. He is a primary school teacher, and when he’s not in the classroom he’s often helping his kids with their homework or preparing lessons. He used to depend on candles, kerosene lamps, and flashlights to illuminate his work after sunset.
However, after purchasing a solar-powered Barefoot Connect 600 plug-and-play system, he has a “brighter and clearer light” that is also significantly more economical. He only uses two of the four lights that came with the system, saving the other two for emergencies. But the lights are bright enough that he can put one in the kitchen and keep one light over the threshold of his living room and bedroom, effectively using two lights to illuminate three rooms.
The system also has USB ports through which he can charge cell phones or power a portable DVD player. Now that he no longer has to buy candles and batteries, or travel to the nearest town to pay to charge his phone, he saves several hours and about 565 cordobas ($22) each month. His solar system allows him to cut down on costs, cut down on contamination from kerosene smoke, and even provide phone charging services to his extended family.
The positive impact of his solar-powered system was so great that Francisco decided to take out a loan from FUNDENUSE, a GP partner, to purchase five SunKing Mobiles, which are solar lights with cell phone charging capability, and sell them in his community. He knew from his own experience that “these lights are a great benefit,” and his conviction makes him a natural salesman. Francisco's customers now benefit from reduced energy costs and cleaner air by no longer being dependent on kerosene lamps, and Francisco has been able to supplement his income with a 20 percent commission on sale of the solar lights.
By investing in social enterprises that provide access to solar products, GP helps connect individuals like Francisco with clean, affordable solar solutions. In turn, individuals like Francisco also receive the opportunity to supplement their incomes by reselling solar lights.
Learn more about our solar investments by watching this video explanation about why solar lights are important in developing countries.