Federation for
Housing and

Light from a plastic bottle

Liter of Light redesigns solar lighting for the developing world with a simple lamp made out of plastic bottles. With 350,000 lamps installed in over 10 countries, the solar solution creates local jobs and teaches green skills.

Liter of Light, is providing solar light for off-grid housing in the developing world. The solar lamp by Liter of Light is a simple design using only a plastic bottle filled with water, and a small amount of bleach to keep the bottle algae-free. Inserted through the roof, each solar bottle refracts sunlight with the intensity of a 55-watt light bulb. Using basic tools and carpentry skills, volunteers and local entrepreneurs can light up their communities during the daytime for just $2 per installation. This is a long-term investment since each lamp has a lifespan of about 5 years. The nighttime upgrade with a solar panel retails at $10. With the lamps made by grassroots entrepreneurs and women’s groups in the Philippines, the cost of finished goods is reduced by 40%.


The first Liter of Light lamp was installed in a home in Laguna in the Philippines in 2011, and the innovation has since then grown to 350,000 lights spread over 10 countries.


Fighting energy poverty one bottle at a time
Over 1 billion people around the world suffer from lack of access to energy, including 15 million people in the Philippines. To address energy poverty, solutions must involve local materials, easily replicable technologies and livelihood-generating enterprises. Most developing countries and regions have access to the simple materials necessary for a Liter of Light lamp, which greatly increases the applicability of the technology throughout the world.


Since 2011 when the initiative started, 370 grassroots entrepreneurs have been trained by Liter of Light to install the solar light. Each entrepreneur services an average of 11,000 homes per year. This way, Liter of Light is helping to end energy poverty one bottle at a time.


Teaching green skills and improving health
By training local entrepreneurs in using discarded plastic bottles and solar panels, Liter of Light reduces waste and provides a useful service for off-grid residents, while at the same time creating local jobs. With the technology being open source and available online, the innovation is easily spread from region to region.


Liter of Light is a low-cost and clean indoor-lighting alternative to the unhealthy kerosene lamps. It reduces fossil fuel emissions that harm both the local and global environment, while also protecting the health of the users. By saving on the purchase of kerosene lamps, the Liter of Light technology allows customers to use savings to purchase a locally built solar upgrade for lighting at night.


Liter of Light recently won the Sustainia Community Award 2013 at a ceremony in Copenhagen. Sustainia is partner organisation of the IFHP.


More information: Liter of Light