Little Sun


Little Sun is a solar-powered lamp created as part of a project to provide lighting to communities with no access to electricity. Developed by artist Olafur Eliasson in collaboration with solar engineer Frederik Ottesen, Little Sun is supported by a social enterprise business model. Lamps are sold in on-grid communities, which makes possible a much lower price in off-grid communities where local businesses sell and distribute the lamps.

Little Sun is UV and heat resistant and dust proof. Its battery (three 1.2V Ni-MH AAA packs with 600mA) lasts 3 years before needing to be replaced. It utilizes a 60×6 mm monocrystalline solar panel, 0.4 Watt. Exposure to 5 hours of sunlight provides energy for a full evening’s operation. 12cm diameter; 3.2cm deep; 120g.

Little Sun is "a work of art that works in life" as artist and Little Sun creator, Olafur Eliasson, describes it.

What Little Sun does

The Little Sun project was officially launched in July 2012 at London’s Tate Modern and currently has distribution in Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Senegal, South Africa and Zimbabwe, as well as the EU, the US and Japan.

Little Sun has developed a unique social business model that uses the revenue from the higher on-grid sales prices of lamps to invest in the sustainable distribution of lamps in off-grid communities. Thus Little Sun is able to help create off-grid jobs and support off-grid entrepreneurs, generating local profits.

Projects with on-grid partners such as art institutions, international agencies, NGOs and private sector partners are used to raise global awareness of energy access and solar power, to reduce off-grid prices even further, and when necessary, to raise funds for lamps to be supplied free-of-charge to people outside the reach of markets.

Unique social business model

Little Sun is a social business that follows the principle of trade, not aid. It’s not just about delivering light to people--it matters how it gets there. Our mission is to address the need for light in a sustainable way that benefits off-grid communities. 
No profits from the Little Sun project are diverted to investors--in fact, we have no investors. All funds generated by Little Sun are used to drive the project. Little Sun aims to spread light, safe energy, and profits everywhere we work.

Read Nobel Peace Prize laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus’ Seven Principles of Social Business.

Little Sun supports the UN initiative to achieve universal access to modern energy services by 2030, established by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change.


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