Photo provided by Jordan Butler, CleanLight.

CleanLight: Exciting Solar Startup in Chile

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CleanLight is one of the most exciting clean energy startups in Chile. This renewable energy manufacturing company has used solar generators to power off-grid homes and brings renewable energy to industries such as construction and mining that have not benefited from the renewable transition. CleanLight was founded in 2019 by Camila Svec and Jordan Butler, and has received $5 million in seed funding. While the company began by providing lighting towers to mining companies in Chile, it has since expanded to provide renewable solutions to other industries. The company is in the process of expanding out of Chile, beginning operations in Peru, Columbia, and the United States. CleanLight already has over 1,900 clients in Ecuador, Chile, and Panama.

One of CleanLight’s most successful products is the SolBox Mobile Solar Generator, which comes in a wide range of capacity levels. The smallest starts at 1500 W, capable of powering a house up to 50 square meters. The next largest is the SolBox 3000 W, which comes with 2 solar panels, a generation capability of 3,685 Wh/day, and a 220 volt inverter. The SolBox 4800 W and the SolBox 7200 W are the next two largest, both of which contain 4 solar panels and are capable of producing 7,370 Wh/day. Lastly, the SolBox 9600 W is used for construction, large plots of land, and large-consumption houses. This product includes 8 solar panels and deep-cycle gel batteries. It is capable of generating 14,740 Wh/day. The Solbox can provide homes with savings on their monthly electric bill ranging from 40–80% depending on the consumption.

Photo provided by Jordan Butler, CleanLight

For construction work and other projects requiring outdoor lighting, CleanLight provides two options: basic tower and standard tower. Both options are autonomous, meaning that the tower will generate more power than it uses anywhere in Chile. Neither tower requires an operator, and both products are manufactured in Chile and have a 5 year warranty. Other CleanLight products include solar communication towers, solar traffic lights, solar street lights, and mobile solar screens. CleanLight products have entered areas of the Chilean economy that up until now may not have benefitted from the transition to renewable energy. The mining industry has been using solar powered towers to provide communication in remote areas and Codelco, the Chilean state owned mining company, has provided a tender for CleanLight towers.

Photo provided by Jordan Butler, CleanLight

When asked about the reasons for starting the company, CleanLight cofounder and CEO Jordan Butler responded, “we wanted to bring the opportunity to everyone to use clean energy and save money.” He went on to describe how there is still a large population in South American countries that do not have access to the power grid, and how CleanLight products provide these off-grid areas with a much cheaper option for power than a diesel generator or building a transmission line. These products are now being used in the far north and far south of Chile, as well as Easter Island, all places that cannot always rely on grid connections.

Along with expanding to new markets in both North and South America, CleanLight is anticipating the release of the SolBox 2.0 at the end of 2023. They continue to invest heavily in research and development as they prepare to launch their new products in emerging markets. In the overall push for clean energy in Chile, Butler responded, “we need help from the government. There should be incentives to use clean energy and manufacture clean energy.” Startups like CleanLight are demonstrating the feasibility of renewable energy manufacturing in South America, a very promising sign for renewable growth in the region.

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Otto Gunderson

Otto graduated from the University of Virginia class of 2022 with a degree in history. He has been involved in clean energy, specifically solar and circular economic practices, for four years now and has been writing about clean energy for 2 years. Due to a lack of writing on the clean energy transitions in South America and Africa, Otto decided to spend his 2023 traveling across these continents, interviewing clean energy entrepreneurs, researchers, and disruptors and publishing their stories.

Otto Gunderson has 33 posts and counting. See all posts by Otto Gunderson