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 1.6 billion people worldwide without access to electricity
- A global project connecting the world through the sharing of a common light
- A work of art that works in life
Who we are:
A social business and global project
In areas of the world without electricity, known as ‘off-grid’ areas, the Little Sun solar-powered lamp allows people to work, socialise, study, and cook at night without using expensive and toxic fuel-based lighting like kerosene lanterns. We are a social business addressing the need for light in a sustainable way that benefits off-grid communities, creates local jobs, and generates local profits.
Little Sun is not a charity. Rather than a short-term fix of donating lamps to a region without electricity, 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.
Launched in July 2012 at London’s Tate Modern, the Little Sun project has since distributed over 165,000 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.
Little Sun currently has distribution in seven African countries: Zimbabwe, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Senegal, Ethiopia, and South Africa, as well as in the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan.
Click here to view a slideshow featuring some of Little Sun’s best moments to date.
What we do:
Spreading sustainable light and livelihoods
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be happy to help you.