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Sustainable Energy and Poverty Alleviation: Electricity-Less Solar Light Bulbs

Let there be light.

One of the most innovative, eco-friendly, and poverty-alleviating projects that have been introduced in the Philippines of late is the Isang Litrong Liwanag project by philanthropist Illac Diaz. This project installs water bulbs in impoverished Metro Manila homes, using a liter of chlorinated water.

Wait. Back up. Yes, you read right. Isang Litrong Liwanag installs liters of waters on tin roofs to illuminate the homes of residents who badly need to cut back on electricity use. Others may not even have electricity in their homes in the first place. The vision is to provide illumination at almost zero cost. 

The concept is simple: mount a liter of chlorinated, purified water onto a corrugated tin roof. The bottle of water acts like a prism, concentrating the rays of the sun and then projecting the concentrated light into the home below. The result is an electricity-free source of illumination equivalent to around 55 Watts of regular electric-powered lighting.

The water lightbulb is projected to last around 2 to 5 years before it would need changing. The chlorine acts to retard the growth of moss, algae and fungi, and filtered or purified water is used to ensure that neither of those would grow in the water. The bottle is then sealed with its cap and a waterproof sealant to protect it from the elements, mounted on a piece of corrugated tin to anchor it, then it will be fixed through a hole in the house's corrugated tin roof. The tin roof would then be sealed with rivets and waterproof sealants.

The innovation was developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students and adopted by Illac Diaz for the very purpose of alleviating one aspect affected by poverty. Truly a program that hits two birds with one stone: Isang Litrong Liwanag is not only a campaign for sustainable energy, it is also one that seeks to remedy an aspect of poverty.

Kudos to the Isang Litrong Liwanag project and the people behind it!


Further Reading:

How to Build a Solar Light Bulb
About the Isang Litrong Liwanag Project


Video Credits: Solar Bottle Bulb--cheaper than Thomas Edison's invention