Cheap, Printed Solar-Powered LEDs Could Change 1.5 Billion Lives

Photovoltaic cells printed on sheets aren't news, nor are LEDs and ultrathin lithium batteries. What's news is a combination of the three which can help give light to 1.5 billion people who live in impoverished areas without access to electricity.

Frederik Krebs came up with this combination of solar panels and LED lights which, while definitely a work-in-progress, could bring cheap light to some of the world's poorest regions. I call the lamps a work-in-progress because despite being durable enough to last several years, they run at a mere 1% efficiency. But with the expected final cost of $7 a piece, they're full of life-changing potential, despite that low efficiency.

Cheap, Printed Solar-Powered LEDs Could Change 1.5 Billion Lives

Some prototypes of the lamps are currently being tested in Zambia. As seen in the picture, the solar panels are left laying flat during the day and then rolled up (and secured with snap-button) into a cone-shaped lamp. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing the results of the prototype tests and a final product, because no one should go without artificially lit nights. [IEEE Spectrum via Pop Sci]