The Gift of Solar Energy

Reader Contribution by Cindy Nawilis
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The holidays are a time of light and abundant energy – why not give a gift that matches? We can all use the holiday season to participate in the solar revolution by sending gifts that help spread solar energy. Here are my suggestions for solar giving, but if you know of other solar gift options, please share at the comments section below.

The Joy of Light

If you’re looking for an alternative Christmas present this year, one that is eco-friendly, supports a good cause, and offers hours of fun, look no further than gifting a high quality solar light. SolarAid, a UK-based charity that’s doing amazing work delivering solar energy to rural and off-grid communities in Africa, is selling the same life-changing solar products that they sell in Zambia, Kenya, and Tanzania to the masses through their online eco-shop. 

These lights are perfect for camping trips and festivals, and are just as cozy on your bedside table. Each light bought will also get two more lights in to rural Africa, help two families lift themselves out of poverty, and eradicate three kerosene lamps. Is there anything that this solar gift can not do? 

Visit their eco-shop by clicking here

End Energy Poverty with Solar 

You could also give the gift of making impact through solar. SunFunder, where I work at, is a lending platform connecting investors with high impact solar projects in off-grid communities around the world. Our goal is to channel $1 billion of investments to off-grid solar projects by 2020 and contribute to the UN initiative Sustainable Energy for All by 2030. In fact, the SunFunder community has crowdfunded projects by SolarAid to spread solar energy in Zambia and Tanzania.

We just released a new Gifts feature on our crowdfunding platform that lets anyone invest in off-grid solar projects as a gift to a friend, family, or co-worker. They will then be able to monitor the impact that the solar project has made and manage their repaid funds over time. Yes you read that correctly – investments on SunFunder are loans that get paid back over time, so in this sense your gift will be one that keeps on growing. 

Visit SunFunder’s Gifts page to start gifting solar impact that grows.

Cooking With Sun

Did you know that a charcoal grill generates ten times more CO2 than a regular stove? Gas grills are greener but still generate three times more CO2. This is why last 4th of July American BBQs generated more CO2 in a single day than many African nations produce in an entire year. We all know a couple outdoor grilling enthusiasts in our lives who can make the switch from charcoal to solar, so why not gift them a solar cooker to reduce their carbon emissions without changing a thing with their grilling techniques.

Check out SolSource, which you can buy here, or wait for the GoSun, which is currently taking pre-orders. Both had wildly successful Kickstarter campaigns and are dedicated to providing solar cookers to communities in developing countries that currently rely on polluting, solid fuels for cooking.

Photos by SolarAid, SunFunder, and One Earth Designs.