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PiSAT Solar's K-Light boasts a one-to-one charging ratio

Paul Miller, @futurepaul
April 29, 2009
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It's pretty rare that a portable solar-based device offers much more utility than impressing your friends, but PiSAT Solar's K-Light won't only make you the coolest kid on your block: it might actually prove useful the next time you take a hike or find yourself hanging out in a developing country. In 10 hours of daylight charging the unit gathers up to 20 hours worth of battery power for use in the low-power 8 LED mode, or 10 hours of life if used in 16 LED mode. It's also switchable between flashlight and lantern modes. That should be great for campers, but where the K-Light really "shines" (so to speak) is in places like Africa, where villagers without electricity often use makeshift kerosene lanterns for light at night. K-Light is designed for up to 10 years of full daily use in such a scenario, and PiSAT is working on an adapter to let the lantern's battery also charge a cellphone. At $50 a pop, the barrier to entry isn't incredibly high, and PiSAT is working with the Koinonia Foundation to provide start-up grants of K-Lights to groups of African women to create local businesses selling the lights. One-off purchases are also available now online for us non-entrepreneurial types.

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