SociaLite Contact Solution Provider

Solution Overview & Benefits

SociaLite was created to address the lighting needs of the extreme poor in remote, rural, off-grid communities where the average household income may be less than 25 cents/day. SociaLite operates at minimal cost, requires minimal technical knowledge and minimal access to a support infrastructure. Operated as a lighting service, each installation carries spare lanterns and parts. Should a user’s lantern fail for any reason, the lantern is either repaired immediately or replaced with a loaner while the user’s own lantern is repaired. The SociaLite lighting system currently consists of a centralized charging station that can accommodate up to 14 lanterns per day and lanterns that will run for approximately 40 hours at full power and well in excess of 200 hours on the low power setting. The complete lantern kit consists of: a circuit board, LED, 6V battery, 3 bicycle spokes, empty tub of hair relaxer, and empty container of cooking oil.

History & Development

The Socialite project is pursued by a group of students, alumni and faculty from the Engineering School of The Cooper Union in New York City, Wa Polytechnic (Ghana) and the National University of Rwanda.

The challenge of designing a lighting system for the world's poorest people was presented to a first-year engineering design class of 26 students in the fall 2006 semester. The project was initially realized with seed funding from the EPA and the NSF. Two grants from the NCIIA brought SociaLite to where it is today.

In February 2009, the project team partnered with faculty and students from Wa Polytechnic to assemble, install and maintain four systems in the Upper West Region of Ghana.

The cost of the components for the 80-lantern system that includes the charging station is 2400 USD, or 30 USD/lantern.

Please contact the solution owner for more details.


Publicly available: no
Countries where available: Ghana
Price range (USD): 20 to 50 USD
Countries where spare parts can be purchased: Ghana

Additional Information

Product Webpage (external link)


If you are aware of any updates to the SociaLite project please complete the form or send an email to [email protected]

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