We often report on enormous new solar power installations, facilities that generate megawatts of power. But solar can also bring important benefits to people even if it is just a few watts at a time.
The inspiration to bring solar power to Africans who live off the grid came to Xavier Helgesen a few years ago. On a business trip to Malawi, he decided to spend the night in a small city with 30,000 inhabitants. He was amazed to see the entire city was dark after the sun went down. People carried kerosene lamps at night. When a family invited him to dinner, they all huddled around one dim indoor light.