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May 23, 2014

Recommended Reading: 'Pico-solar Electric Systems' by John Keane

Pico-solar_electric_systemsAn exciting new book, Pico-solar Electric Systems: The Earthscan Expert Guide to the Technology and Emerging Market, was recently released  by John Keane, the managing director and a founding member of SunnyMoney, the social enterprise of SolarAid.

These revolutionary pico-solar systems, which can power appliances such as mobile phones and LED lights, are an important component of a global strategy to alleviate the energy poverty that affects 1.2 billion people worldwide. The user-friendly designs employ a small solar panel to power a battery, which in turn can operate a variety of appliances. For many people living off the grid in places like India, Kenya, and Malawi, the only power options are dangerous, outdated, and expensive fuels like kerosene, but the introduction of pico-solar systems has been changing that.

Keane is particularly familiar with the issue of energy poverty because his enterprise, SunnyMoney, has sold more than one million solar units in just the past few years. In his book, he reinforces that the pico-solar sector has arrived, and is growing rapidly.  In the past four months alone, the solar energy sector has seen $45 million in investments from high-profile investors like former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and SolarCity. This solar boom is also a huge source for green jobs in countries like Bangladesh where 80,000 solar home systems are being installed every single month.

In his book, Keane not only explains the technology involved in solar energy production and provides tips on choosing quality products, but he highlights the work of different practitioners in the growing pico-solar sector -- including Greenlight Planet, Orb, Fosera, and SunnyMoney.  The case studies he includes  from around the world clearly demonstrate that small pico-solar solutions are the key to the next big energy revolution -- similar to the global mobile phone boom.      

Keane’s comprehensive book takes a look at how solar power has potential to transform the lives of billions of people living off the grid. If you are an aspiring social entrepreneur, development practitioner, or just simply interested in business and technology, its worth a read. You can check it out here.

-- Vrinda Manglik, Associate Campaign Representative, International Clean Energy Access

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