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Emergency electricity - light, cell phone, radio, extra set of batteries - can be powered by a few square inches of photovoltaic cell.



Solar IS Civil Defense - what we are all supposed to have on hand in case of emergency - flashlight, cell phone, radio, extra set of batteries - can be powered by a few square inches of solar electric panel.  Add a hand crank or bicycle generator and you have a reliable source of survival level electricity, day or night, by sunlight or muscle power.

This is also entry level electrical power for the 1.5 billion people around the world who do not yet have access to electricity.  Civil defense at home and economic development abroad can be combined in a "buy one, give one" program like the Bogolight ( which is a solar LED light and AA battery charger.

In fact, solar and dynamo LED keychain lights are now free gifts at US conferences.  MIT Energy Initiative handed out a 3 LED solar light that shines for over 2 hours on a single charge in April 2013.  These conference freebies cost a little over a dollar a piece in lots of 5000.    Individual and family emergency/entry lighting is now technically trivial and can be economically trivial if we recognize the opportunity. (

Thar solar reading lights in more useful form factors also in that less than $2 per 5000 cost range:

The world should have realized that anybody can be reduced to the bottom billion standard of living when we all saw the devastation in NYC after Hurricane Sandy.  Technically, we can now make survival level electricity available to everyone.  We should do it.



Category of the action

Urban adaptation

What actions do you propose?

1.   Convincing people that Solar IS Civil Defense

2.  Initiating a buy one/give one program so that a solar civil defense program in the developed countries is paired with an entry level electricity program in the developing world

3.  Zero emissions production, distribution, use, and disposal of all solar and generating devices, including batteries

Who will take these actions?

Anyone who wants to.  Individuals and families, NGOs and small businesses are already picking up pieces of this idea but haven't quite put it all together yet.  Cities and municipalities should be getting interested in it soon.

Where will these actions be taken?

Everywhere possible

What are other key benefits?

Economic development, educational opportunities, communication and connection for the bottom billion, and more personal security for the rest of the world.

What are the proposal’s costs?

So far, it has only cost my time.

If a solar LED keychain light is about a dollar, then you can provide emergency light to the whole world for $1 x present world population (maximum) but, if we are wise, this effort should actually make money rather than costing it.

Time line

I've been talking about this for close to 15 years.  Essentially, all people who want access to survival electricity could have it within less than 5 years if there was a concerted and general effort.  Certainly within the next decade, solar LED keychain lights will be available worldwide.  How long did it take the disposable butane lighter to go from the developed world to a standard item in the developing world that could be refurbished and resold on street corners and in doorways?  

Related proposals

Solar Electric Light Fund

Solar Electric Light Company (SELCO) - India

Richard Komp - solar as a cottage industry (see Maine Solar Energy Association)

and numerous others all around the world