How six friends lit up India with solar lights

Imagine this: You live in Bangalore. 

Technically your home is a slum — like 65 million other Indians. You salvage materials from the streets and your partner works construction. Together you make $3.50/day.

You don’t have electricity — like 400 million other Indians. So you spend $0.21/day on kerosene for your lamp. It’s dangerous, makes you cough, and isn’t bright enough for your kids to study by at night.

Enter six friends from Australia. In 2012, they wondered how to help kids like these study at night. 

They had a solar powered light, but existing microfinance organizations thought this population was too poor to service. So this group of friends created their own — Pollinate Energy — and moved to India to begin work.

After a successful pilot, they recruited local “Pollinators” to sell the solar lights door to door and to collect installment payments.

Six years later they’ve sold 100,000+ solar lights (and only 5% default on the payment plan).

Families save $1.52/week in kerosene costs (equal to saving 112 working days over 5 years).

They’ve prevented 65,173 tons of CO2 emissions (equal to getting 10,800 people to stop using their car for a year).

Children spend 17% more time doing homework. 

And perhaps best of all, they’ve created jobs for and trained 21 social entrepreneur Pollinators. 

What a few friends can do!

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