Shine On: Solar Philanthropy from an Expert

The sky is the limit for technological and business ingenuity now that solar is cost-effective. The year 2012 has been designated by the United Nations as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, and the UN called on the world to focus on this opportunity to pull the world’s poorest people from the unsafe and hazardous use of fossil-fuel energy and into a cleaner, better future.

There are many great ways to do this; indeed, a world of opportunity exists at “the bottom of the pyramid” for solar entrepreneurs to do well while doing good. Furthermore, solar electricity is one of best anti-poverty measures around because, while energy poverty is only a piece of larger economic poverty, providing electricity is proven to be one of the best ways out of it. Light is education for people, and electricity is economic empowerment.

As I write in my book ( mobile billing innovations will extend the reach of sunshine into the lives of the more than 500 million people who have cell phones but no electricity in their homes. That’s why Sungevity has sponsored a solar lighting kit in Zambia that doubles as a cell-phone charger for every solar lease in the US ( We want to help these people connected to the Internet and to the sun, two keys to twenty-first-century living.

Now we are working to get a whole High School to go solar. If you want to get involved please check out Power is Knowledge ( and make a donation. Shine on.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Danny Kennedy, 2011 Innovator of the Year"][/caption]

Danny Kennedy was Planet Forward Innovator of the Year for 2011 and founder of Sungevity. He is a long-time social entrepreneur, Danny has achieved global recognition as an environmental activist, spokesperson, and opinion leader. Most recently, Danny was the Campaigns Manager for Greenpeace Australia Pacific. In 2001, he ran Greenpeace's California Clean Energy Campaign, the success of which helped lead to the current California Solar Initiative. Danny was the founder and first Executive Director of Project Underground and serves on several nonprofit boards.



More From Danny:

See Danny's idea for local governments

See Danny's interview joined by Frank Sesno on Energy Now!

See Danny on our PBS Special


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