Solar Electric Light Fund

Rating: 4.91 stars   11 reviews


1612 K St, NW Ste 402 Washington DC 20006 USA


SELF''s mission is to provide solar power and wireless communications to a quarter of the world''s population living in energy poverty. Acting as a catalyst, SELF provides technical and financial assistance to empower these people to change their lives.

SELF believes that energy is a human right. To meet global challenges such as food and water scarcity, climate change and poverty, SELF is working to assign greater priority to the importance of sustainable energy among international development banks, aid agencies, foundations, and philanthropic individuals, who are committed to improving the health, education, and economic prospects of the world''s poorest citizens.


Since 1990 SELF has completed rural electrification projects in 18 countries, including China, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Solomon Islands, Bhutan, Nigeria, Lesotho, and most recently in Benin, Burundi and Rwanda.  We are expanding into Haiti this year. Our projects have improved the health, education and economic opportunities of tens of thousands of people. In 2008, SELF brought electricity to 10 health centers and 3 schools and completed the initial site assessment phases for 17 additional health centers and 2 whole-village electrification projects.

Target demographics:

the one quarter of humanity that lives without electricity

Direct beneficiaries per year:

Each new health clinic directly benefits an estimated 10,000 rural villagers. In 2008, SELF electrified 10 health centers in Rwanda and Lesotho. SELF also brought solar electricity and Internet access to three schools in the remote Eastern Cape region of South Africa, benefitting 2,000 children and their families.

Geographic areas served:



Seventy percent of people in the developing world have no access to electricity and are completely isolated from the modern world's wealth of resources. In communities with no electricity grid, SELF brings clean, solar power to light their homes, schools and health clinics; pump safe drinking water and irrigate their fields; refrigerate their vaccines; and power their micro-enterprise centers. We also bring wireless Internet to improve the education in their schools and diagnostics in their clinics. Our Solar Integrated Development (SID) model dramatically improves the quality of life for people at the bottom of the pyramid without contributing more greenhouse gases to global warming. Projects are funded with micro-finance. Since our founding in 1990, SELF has launched solar rural electrification projects in 18 countries: China, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Solomon Islands, Bhutan, Nigeria, Lesotho, and most recently in Benin, Burundi and Rwanda.

2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Reviews for Solar Electric Light Fund

Rating: 5 stars  

A donation to SELF gives way more than once--first, it funds micro-loans to let off-grid clients purchase solar lighting solutions. Second, the solar lighting displaces kerosine lighting whose smoke is toxic, especially to children. Third, the loan can be paid off with the funds saved on kerosine purchase, and afterwards that money is available for other discretionary purchases. And last, the donation translates into carbon offsets at about a ton per $10 donation for the donor.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Solar Electric Light Fund is such an inspiring organization to me in that they are working with those in third world countries to not only help the environment, to better their lives, but to send the message of being a responsible earth resident by their example.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

show the world how simple it can be to live responsibly and put their solar energy units throughout their area. Their clinics would be more plentiful and accessible.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


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