Up to 1 billion people in the world still lack or have unsteady access to electricity. For these people, kerosene, a dirty petroleum product, is usually the fuel of choice–or more accurately, they have no choice. This US$36 billion a year industry often consumes 30 to 35 percent of poor families’ income.
Nevertheless there is hope – without giving Westerners the willies that we are going to kill the planet through carbon emissions. Solar energy, specifically solar printing, could be an answer. One company working on this front is Eight19, a UK company that provides printed plastic solar cells that are flexible, lightweight and can be used on a bevy of solar-powered applications.