A work of art that works in life

Little Sun is:

  • An attractive, high-quality solar-powered LED lamp developed by artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen
  • A social business focused on getting clean, reliable, affordable light to the 1.2 billion people worldwide without access to electricity
  • A global project connecting the world through sharing light

Who we are

We are a social business and global project addressing the need for light in a sustainable way that benefits communities without electricity, creates local jobs, and generates local profits.

Little Sun is not a charity. Rather than a short-term fix of donating lamps to areas without electricity (known as 'off-grid' areas), we focus on the longer-term goal of building profitable local businesses that distribute Little Sun light. Because it’s not just about
 delivering light to people – it matters how it gets there.

Where we work

Little Sun currently has distribution in nine African countries: Zimbabwe, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Senegal, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa, as well as in Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan.

Launched in July 2012 at London’s Tate Modern, the Little Sun project has since distributed over 200,000 Little Sun lamps worldwide – and that number is quickly growing. Little Sun’s unique combination of beautiful design and exceptional engineering has made the lamp popular across the globe, and people are discovering just how useful the lamp is even in areas with electricity. The lamp is a fun, accessible tool educating people all over the world about the benefits of solar power and sustainable sources of energy.

Click here to view a slideshow featuring some of Little Sun’s best moments to date.

What we do

Our mission has two parts:

  • To provide clean, solar-powered Little Sun light to as many people in the world as we can, focusing our reach particularly in off-grid areas, which need light the most
  • To strengthen off-grid communities from the inside out, training young local entrepreneurs to become Little Sun sales agents and powering their small businesses with an initial seed capital of Little Sun lamps, which allows them to get their start

How we do it

In order to power our distribution system as well as keep prices low for off-grid Little Sun users, we sell Little Suns for a higher price in areas of the world that have electricity, known as ‘on-grid’ areas. Additionally we work with on-grid retail partners who agree, as we do, to take a reduced profit margin from sales of Little Suns to support the project. We raise additional funds through special Little Sun projects and events around the world.

We use this on-grid investment to kick-start locally operated small businesses that sell Little Suns in off-grid areas, providing funding for sales agents to receive business starter kits and micro-entrepreneurial training. In off-grid areas, we work within communities to distribute lamps through VSLAs, door-to-door sales, and in-home sales parties. Working with our growing network of sales agents, we use a personal approach to spread light – and livelihoods – in off-grid communities.

Questions? Write to business@littlesun.com, and we’ll be happy to help you.

Join us

You can get involved in the project by buying a Little Sun of your own, contributing to a Business Box, or following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Vimeo. Join our growing Little Sun community!


Little Sun supports the UN Sustainable Energy for All Initiative to achieve universal access to modern energy services by 2030, established by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change. Read about the initiative here.

Partners and collaborators

Production partner Collaborator Development partner Engineering partner Media support Project partner