How to be a solar buddy
While holidaying in Queenstown I spotted an article in the local paper — The Otago Daily Times — about a scheme to provide LED lighting to countries where light is a real luxury (odt.co.nz/regions/queenstown/schoolsigns-solar-buddy-scheme).
I’ve seen various solutions over the years, but this Solar Buddy programme solves one of the major issues around recharging and portability, and is affordable. Kate Rowland is the local promoter and kindly arranged for me to get my hands on one, so I could see if it would suit Futureintech and the school programmes they run. While the light is the object, the opportunity for schools is learning about renewable energy, along with some basic electronic assembly. Also, assisting others and making new contacts are social interaction that has value long after the gift has been received.
Since the article appeared, Kate has managed to put a very generous programme of buy one, gift one (ebrightenergy.co.nz/product/brightbeam-solar-led-light/), and for only $25 you get two units (with one being gifted).
The assembly is simple, with no soldering, and the whole product looks well made. Perhaps the trickiest bit is getting the protective sleeve on correctly so it fits into the holes.
While the scheme is aimed at schools there is no reason why groups or businesses couldn’t get together and fundraise and make a project from it.
Personally I’d be happy if both items went to those in need of them, but they would make an ideal Christmas gift. Parents or grandparents could help assemble it and then gift it — how good is that?
There are some excellent FAQs at this site: https://solarbuddy.org/faq/.