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Clean Power affordable solar light bulb

Published on June 29th, 2014 | by Guest Contributor

37

World’s Most Affordable Solar Light Bulb?

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June 29th, 2014 by  

affordable off grid solar light

By Terri Steele

Nokero International, LLC last week announced availability of its ultra-efficient solar light bulb, the N182, billed as the world’s brightest and most affordable LED solar light bulb. Offering double the light output in housing two-thirds the size of its predecessor, the new, trimmer N182 employs the most efficient LED on the market today, a radically redesigned circuit board, and a cost-effective, 1-1/2” micro solar panel to collect the solar energy from which it gets its charge. With a free, 6-8 hour charge from the sun, Nokero’s N182 can provide light for five or more hours, depending on charging conditions.

RiftValley_Craig

Since its 2010 inception, Nokero has worked with governments, NGOs, and corporate partners to distribute over 1 million solar light bulbs to improve the quality of life for individuals – and entrepreneurs like these men in Kenya eager to empower their communities with the gift of light — in 130 countries. Credit: Nokero International

“This next generation Nokera solution demonstrates the potency of powerful collaborations,” noted Nokero founder and CEO Steve Katsaros. “The incorporation of Seoul Semiconductor’s ultra-efficient mid-power 5630 LEDs into Nokera’s smaller, more versatile N182 solar light bulb is a game-changer. It transforms free, plentiful energy from the sun into an illuminating force that can profoundly, affordably improve the lives of 1.3 billion people without electricity. Product innovations like this matter because every increase in efficacy translates into longer run times and increases in brightness. This allows businesses to stay open longer, children to study longer, families to recreate more safely in areas without electricity and medical personnel to better provide humanitarian aid in event of a disaster. The possibilities are endless,” noted Katsaros.

most efficient solar light bulb

Sowing seeds of entrepreneurship for the energy impoverished: This grandmother helps the family make ends meet by working longer hours sewing under solar. Nokero is currently building a global distribution network to make its evolving suite of solar light bulbs available to virtually everyone under the sun. Credit: One Heart for Hope Foundation

The patented, pocket-sized N182 housing is configured so that it may be used as a hanging light, a standing task light or personal flashlight. The design emphasizes ease of use and efficient energy conversion; at the request of consumers and distributors, the PCB and on/off switch are inside the light’s globe, which keeps them affordable.

affordable solar light bulb

Studies show that introducing Nokero’s solar light bulbs to off-the-grid communities like this household in Liberia drives a greater enthusiasm for learning after the sun sets – and higher test scores! They’re also relieved they don’t have to worry about the house burning down under a kerosene mishap. Credit: ChildFund International

Nokero’s launch of the N182 solar light bulb commemorates both the four-year anniversary of the company and its recent designation as one of Colorado’s Companies to Watch in 2014. Katsaros is introducing the N182 solar light bulb while discussing its attributes and applications at today’s Colorado Energy Expo.

Nokero is a privately-held company headquartered in Denver, Colorado, USA with offices in Hong Kong and Kenya. Nokero’s name originates from the phrase ‘No Kerosene’ – evoking its mission to replace this harmful, polluting fuel oil (used in many developing countries and off-grid communities) with safer, more environmentally-friendly renewable energy solutions. Its credo is to ensure people throughout the world have access to cleaner, higher-quality and more consistent light after dark regardless of economic status — or proximity to a power grid.

affordable camping light

With an MSRP of only $8 each, consumers are also inspired to use Nokero’s solar light bulbs for a creative range of outdoor activities where traditional power sources may not be readily available, including camping and biking excursions, beach and pool parties, garden and networking events and weddings. Credit: CJMPhoto

Since its 2010 inception, Nokero has worked with governments, NGOs and corporate partners to distribute over 1 million solar light bulbs to improve the quality of life for energy-impoverished people in 130 countries. But Katsaros says Nokero is finding enthusiastic consumers and distributors in Westernized society as well.

“We founded this company to help end energy poverty. And Nokero’s solar light bulbs are providing an important source of light (and with some models, phone charging capabilities) for off-grid homes and businesses, during power outages and in emergency situations,” noted Katsaros. “But we’re finding consumers are also inspired to use them for beach, garden and networking events, weddings, camping and biking excursions – a creative range of outdoor activities where traditional power sources may not be readily available.”

most affordable solar light bulb

Nokero founder and CEO Steve Katsaros’s solar light bulbs transform free, plentiful energy from the sun into an illuminating force that can profoundly, affordably improve the lives of these Kenyan women – and the 1.3 billion people currently living in energy poverty or without access to electricity.

Earlier this month, Nokero’s N182 was showcased by LED partner Seoul Semiconductor at LIGHTFAIR® International (LFI), billed as the world’s largest annual architectural and commercial lighting conference and trade show. It was also recently introduced to emerging thought leaders at the global Sustainable Brands Conference in San Diego.

Today marks the first day Nokero is making the N182 solar light bulb available for public consumption. It is available via the Nokero online shop for an MSRP of $8 each. The company says quantity discounts are available for purchases by the case (60 units) or more. Those wishing to purchase samples of the N182 solar light bulb can find them at Nokero’s online store: http://store.nokero.com or by calling 1 (303) 991-9871.

affordable solar light bulb

Nokero’s N182 is the world’s most affordable solar light bulb. Its patented, pocket-sized housing is configured so that it may be used as a hanging light, a standing task light or personal flashlight.

Nokero is currently building a global distribution network to make its evolving suite of solar light bulbs available to virtually everyone under the sun. Those interested in Nokero distributorships, product customization – or in gifting Nokero lighting to those living in energy poverty — can see the light at www.nokero.com.

Nokero claims the N182 light is the brightest and most affordable product of its kind. The quality, portability and affordability of this light allows it to be enjoyed world-wide by a plethora of communities in need of off-grid and sustainable solutions – those who without products like this would simply be left in the dark.

About the Author: Terri Steele is a San Diego-based writer, marketer, and clean energy evangelist. You can follow her @solarsavvy; or email her at SolarSavvy@cox.net

Image at top of page: Nokero’s solar light bulb is the brightest and most affordable product of its kind. The quality, portability and affordability of this light allows it to be enjoyed world-wide by a plethora of communities in need of off-grid and sustainable solutions – those who without products like this would simply be left in the dark

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  • Jim

    Can they work upside down or in either direction or does the solar panel need to face up only?

    • Bob_Wallace

      The solar panel is going to have to face the Sun while charging.

      In use, direction shouldn’t matter.

  • timbuck93

    I strongly hope they are of the very warm white 2700k Incandescent looking variety –if not then their sleep will be negatively affected by the light.

  • Nat Turner

    July saw the launch of,
    Another great and practicable invention out of Africa this year,
    The Solar powered light,
    coming just a few months after Ghana’s Etic Group invention of the Atmospheric Water Generator,
    the Ugandan Onelamp is an application which is pertinent to and
    in the price range of ordinary folk.
    Though the Onelamp is aimed at the 7:5 million Ugandan schoolers,
    it’s market lies throughout Africa and across the globe wherever issues of poverty and infrastructure affect matters of lighting.
    Being able to gain 8 hours light at a time is a great asset of the Onelamp.
    Onelamp’s nobility is enhanced in that it takes people away from using dangerous, dirty and polluting kerosene,
    Kerosene “fumes kill an estimated 1.5 million women and children in Africa
    every year more than half of them below the age of five”,
    solar power is renewable and non pollutive.
    We should all where possible help in the promotion of this product.

    Onelamp is contactable through
    Email: info@onelamp.ug
    http://www.onelamp.ug/
    Regional Office: Plot 53 Lubas Road, Jinja, Uganda
    Telephone: +256 – 434 660 875
    Wholesale http://www.nokero.com/dealers/application.

    Etic Group’s Atmospheric Water Generator,
    Extracts water out of the air by way of a condenser,
    through a process called reverse osmosis.
    Contact http://eticgroupint.com/

    A larger copy of the picture –
    http://api.ning.com/files/826oIv68Xgj*m71BtVVt8KZDu1HILDPj5em-mhnWnr1omPZq6bXtus-mx*biUkqE*EBDKplfyVbIPMMHid8tzATduu9peo0F/Onelamp.jpg

    This comment scooped at
    http://sco.lt/8STKAz

  • SolarSavvy

    Here’s what I know: Nokero’s credo is to make solar viable and affordable
    for everyone under the sun.

    Nokero has worked with governments, NGOs and corporate partners
    to distribute over 1 million solar light bulbs to improve the quality of life for energy-impoverished people in130 countries. Nearly 600,000 of these were distributed free of charge, either in disaster relief scenarios or via NGOs and corporate partners to help those living in extreme poverty safely and affordably harness the free energy
    from the sun to improve their daily lives. This allows businesses to stay open longer, children to study longer, families to recreate more safely and medical personnel to better provide humanitarian aid in event of a disaster.

    The Nokero team has increased the value proposition of the solar light bulb by
    introducing Seoul Semiconductor’s ultra-efficient mid-power LEDs into a
    trimmer, more portable housing; the LEDs nearly doubles the brightness. For the hundreds of millions who *can* afford Nokero’s product ($38 billion is spent on lighting sources for the 1.3 billion people living without access to electricity) Nokero’s solar LED light bulbs provide business opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs interested in delivering the life-changing benefits of solar light to help their communities thrive.

    It’s one of those rare 360-degree wins that certainly has me ‘amped up!’ Thanks so much to all of those who see the light on this exciting innovation and made time to comment!

  • Benjamin Nead

    All you have to do is produce an inexpensive renewable energy product and market it towards the Third World to immediately get people screaming about imperialistic First Worlders forcing technology down the throats of people who don’t want/need it.

    Then, to generate some additional controversy, you either have to explicitly ban First Worlders from purchasing their own copies (witness the horribly botched rollout of the One Laptop Per Child computer a few years ago) or, alternately, make it available to First Worlders (pissing off that same contingent who declared First Worlders will buy too many, drive up the price and compromise Third World availability for those who didn’t want/need in the first place.) Damned if you do and damned if you don’t, I suppose.

    Anyway . . . if this can displace a kerosene lantern, I think it’s fabulous. If some crafty Third Worlder can cabbage something together like this for less, fine with me as well. But why pillory an entrepreneur for making one in a nice package? Perhaps there would be less controversy, oddly enough, if it was painted camo-tan and shown in an ad with a soldier toting an automatic rifle. Then, of course, it would cost 5 times as much for civilians (or not available to them at all) and the Pentagon would gladly buy truckloads of them for an even more inflated price on my tax dollar.

    From the perspective of someone who lives in the First World (well, Arizona
    qualifies in a number of respects,) this is exactly the sort of product that I would purchase for emergency lighting around the house. Late summers here witnesses power outages as a result of extreme heat damaging grid transformers or monsoon rains that bring down power lines. The end result is a rare summer where the lights don’t go off at least one day and, sometimes, for a couple of days at a time.

    I bought one of these at Ikea a few years ago and have found it to be adequate in some respects, but lacking in other areas . . .

    http://inhabitat.com/product-review-inhabitat-tries-out-ikeas-solar-powered-sunnan-lamp/

    The high color temperature (bright white hue) is a bit annoying and this prevents me from wanting to use it more, except when the electricity goes off. The 3 AA batteries also take a long time to recharge (requiring more than a single day’s sun) and this is another impediment to using it more often.

    From what I gather, Nokero seems to have addressed long recharging time with a more efficient LED that can run off just 2 AAs. Good news all around.Perhaps I’ll purchase a few and get a people angry at me for doing so.

  • Bob_Wallace

    While looking around for info on solar affordability I came across an interesting site that deals with the cost of kerosene lighting in Africa. Rural people pay more for theirs, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has lived in rural areas.

    http://global-off-grid-lighting-association.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/kerosene_pricing_Lighting_Africa_Report.pdf

  • IMPOed

    What is with the dissension?
    This world needs all the help it can get, especially the poor countries that can be brought into the 21st century!

    • Bob_Wallace

      I’m not sure. This device seems to me to be a reasonable entry point for those who are now restricted to kero and candles for light. Or for flashlights and disposable batteries.

      I took a look on Amazon and similar solar lanterns/lights cost at least twice as much. They might be brighter, but in terms of getting something better than a candle into people’s hands these are “ten candles” bright.
      The next step up is a micro-solar system, but they cost a lot more. Starting with one or two of these lights (or a similar product) could allow one to accumulate some money toward a system.

      • IMPOed

        Unattended candles can burn the house down, as poorly treated lanterns can, plus Kerosene is Nasty and dangerous as well, like you said, two or three of these little puppies could make a world of difference,, I love solar,, :>)

        • Bob_Wallace

          I’ve spent quiet a few nights in underdeveloped countries and experienced what people’s lives are like when they depend on kero for light. It stinks up their entire house and creates nasty fumes which damage lungs and eye.
          I also lived in a non-electrified cabin for a few months with only a kerosene lantern for light. Between the fumes and poor light it was almost impossible to read at night.

          Another option for low cost light is the Gravity light which costs a couple bucks less, doesn’t need daytime charging, but is more labor intensive.
          http://gravitylight.org/gravitylight/

          I’m all for various low entry threshold solutions. Get something into people’s hands quickly.

          I’d also like to see more modular approaches. Something like these lamps without the solar cell but designed to plug into a larger solar panel. Over time people could grow their system by adding more panels and devices.

          • IMPOed

            Amazing, how long does one “winding” of the gravity light last? The article didn’t say, that I could see.
            Right now I am using the “modular approach” just to see how stuff works,, :>)

          • Bob_Wallace

            Seems like it’s 20 to 30 minutes.

            It would depend on the length of the cord.

  • Ronald Brakels

    That solar cell is small, so the light can’t be that bright even if the efficiency of the cell is higher than average for this application. There is no mention of lumens so we don’t know how bright the light actually is. We can’t tell from the pictures as we have no idea what shutter speed was used. Now in Australia we can buy Chinese made solar lights for as little as $2. That’s $1.88 US. Now I presume this light is better than a $1.88 light, but I don’t know if it is 4.25532 times better. Hopefully it is, and hopefully the eight dollar price is only for rich developed world people who want one and they will be competitively priced for people in the developing world. But I’m not sure people realise these things have been mass produced for a while now and the competition is quite stiff.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Ten lumens.

      $2 for the LED + something for the cell, battery, housing, ….

      • Ronald Brakels

        Ten lumens? Not too bad given the size of the solar cell and five hours light. It’s not as bright as my little LED flashlight, but I think my flashlight was made on the cheap and feeds current directly to the LEDs which will cause them to degrade. I assume this solar light is a quality product that won’t have that problem.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I have no idea about the quality. Let’s hope it’s good. And let’s hope that this company or another brings a better, cheaper product to market down the road.

          What I think someone needs to make is a headlamp version. A lot of task lighting, from studying to taking care of the livestock to cooking would be best done ‘hands free’.

          Separate the cell from the light and let them plug together. Make it possible to link multiple cells. Offer headlamps, which could also be hung over a table/whatever. The ability to charge a cell phone.

          Inexpensive entry level modular systems.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Well, one sign of quality is in the picture the solar cell is a compete square of silicon wafer while the cheaper solar lights use off cuts and broken bits of silicon. But this is not a problem provided keeps costs down.

  • vadik

    People who press $8 bulbs on third world peasants have no clue.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Let’s think that out a bit…

      Right now about 1.4 billion people have no access to grid electricity. That means that they are purchasing kerosene and candles to light their houses, stores and shops. Not only is that a constant expense, but kerosene is nasty stuff. It causes a lot of health problems.

      Someone using 60 ml/day and paying t $1.30 per liter for kero would recover that $8 in about 3.5 months. The they would save ~$8 every 3.5 months for as long as the solar lamp lasted. (If well made that would be years.)

      http://global-off-grid-lighting-association.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/kerosene_pricing_Lighting_Africa_Report.pdf

      Now, take a look at the children reading with one of these lamps in the above article and compare the quality of light with a typical open wick oil lamps and with a kero lantern pictured below.

      BTW, those kero lanterns seem to cost about $30 in the US.

      Interested in reconsidering your claim?

      • vadik

        Take a similar 50 cent product from a hardware store (I bought an analogue last year) or combine a panel with a car battery – you get a cheaper and better result w/o this much bru ha ha.
        But the best solution is buy something the poor commuity produces and they figure out for themselves where to spend their money.
        Eight dollars in those parts can be huge money, nobody there would spend it for an expensive toy.

        • Bob_Wallace

          What?

          Eight dollars for something that produces better light than kerosene and saves $100 over four years is an expensive toy?

          And how about giving us a cost breakdown for your LED, car battery and solar panel solution?

          • vadik

            The very first search gives you a car battery based solar pack for about 200 bucks able to power three 250 lumen bulbs.

            So you get three times more lumens per buck than your toy.

            Why do people from the first world always think that they are so much smarter than the peasants in the third world? There are smart people everywhere – they are just born into different conditions.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Let’s see, for someone who has to stretch their budget to afford kero you’re suggesting they scrape up the money for a $200 solar system?

            OK, glad to see that you understand what life is like at the bottom.

          • vadik

            All I want to say is there are more economical solutions than Nokero.
            Let us just agree that kerosene is stupid and solar is the way to go.

          • Bob_Wallace

            OK, what are those more economical solutions? I don’t mean more lumens per dollar, we all are aware of economies of scale.

            I mean better entry level solutions. Lower initial cost for some minimal but adequate amount of light.

            I gave the Gravity Light as a solution with a somewhat lower cost but less convenience.

            The others?

          • vadik

            Don’t those hungry beggars have the iddylic pastoral wisdom to hold their hands and live in harmony with nature and community?
            Good starting point to chip in for an electricity solution.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Vadik, what makes you think that the development of a new solar light is a problem? Surely the peasants of the third world will be smart enough not to buy it if it’s not of any benefit to them.

          • vadik

            Nobody asks peasants what they want and what they do not, this is real life.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I wasn’t aware that the peasants were being required to purchase these at sword point.

          • vadik

            I feel you’ve never actually been to the third world, and if yes, then with a bunch of blue eyed sophomores who came to teach locals how to cultivate the land they know and work on for centuries.
            Live a year with only a nokero as source of light at home it will prove your point.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Just a quick count tells me that I’ve spent over three years (cumulatively) of my life in less developed countries. (Third world if you wish to use that somewhat inappropriate term.)

            I’ve been visiting less developed countries for almost 40 years. I’ve spent a lot of my ‘less developed country’ time in rural and small village areas.

            And, no, I’ve never done any of the “Peace Corp” type work that you think so poorly of. (I do have first hand experience with Peace Corp workers and find your characterization offensive.)

            I’ve lived for months with a kerosene lantern for light in the US. And I’ve lived for about three years with a low lumen florescent light on a sailboat. I have a very good feel for the difference between kerosene light and even a modest amount of electricity.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      You think this is an 8$ light bulb? It is a solar cell, battery, control circuit, LED, packaged in a way it is easy to charge and use. A self contained light, self powered system.

    • SolarSavvy

      Vadik, please allow me to clarify. Nokero’s credo is to make solar viable and affordable for everyone under the sun. Nokero has worked with governments, NGOs and corporate partners to distribute over 1 million solar light bulbs to improve the quality of life for energy-impoverished people in 130 countries. Nearly 600,000 of these were distributed free of charge, either in disaster relief scenarios or via NGOs and corporate partners to help those living in extreme poverty safely and affordably harness free energy from the sun to improve their daily lives. This allows businesses to stay open longer, children to study longer, families to recreate more safely and medical personnel to better provide humanitarian aid in event of a disaster.

      The Nokero team has increased the value proposition of the solar
      light bulb by introducing Seoul Semiconductor’s ultra-efficient mid-power LEDs into a trimmer, more portable housing; the LEDs nearly doubles the brightness.

      For the hundreds of millions who *can* afford Nokero’s product ($38 billion is spent on lighting sources for the 1.3 billion people living without access to electricity) Nokero’s solar LED light bulbs provide business opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs interested in delivering the life-changing benefits of solar light to help their communities thrive.

      It’s one of those rare 360-degree wins that certainly has me ‘amped
      up!’ (Thanks so much to all of the others who see the light on this exciting innovation and made time to comment!)

      • Bob_Wallace

        $38 billion spent per year for lighting by the 1.3 billion living without grid access?

        If so, that’s $29 per year per person. Pays off a Nokero lamp in a bit over 3 months.

        Are the batteries replaceable?

        • SolarSavvy

          Hi, Bob! I checked with the folks at Nokero and indeed, the N182’s batteries are easily replaceable. Nokero uses standard, rechargeable AA batteries that can be sourced in most areas of the world. They considered cutting costs by designing the new N182 solar light bulb to accommodate AAA batteries, but elected to go with the AA because they are more readily available in the 130 countries in which Nokero’s product have been distributed.

          • Bob_Wallace

            That’s great!

            The weakest link is easily replaceable.

            Thanks.

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