Liter of Light

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Litre Of Light
Logo of Liter of Light .png
TypeSocial Enterprise, Interest group
ServicesAffordable and sustainable light
Key people
  • Illac Diaz (founder)

Liter of Light is an open source design for a low-cost light tube that refracts solar light to provide daytime interior lighting for dwellings with thin roofs. Daylighting is cheaper than using indoor electric lights during the day. The device is simple: a transparent two-liter bottle is filled with water plus a little bleach to inhibit algal growth and fitted into a hole in a roof. The device functions like a deck prism: during daytime the water inside the bottle refracts sunlight, delivering about as much light as a 40–60 watt incandescent bulb to the interior. A properly installed solar bottle can last up to 5 years.[1][2]


The use of plastic bottles in this way to provide indoor lighting from daylight was developed by Alfredo Moser of Brazil.[3] Using the technology as a social enterprise was first launched in the Philippines by Illac Diaz under the My Shelter Foundation in April 2011.[4] In order to help the idea to grow sustainably, Diaz implemented a “local entrepreneur” business model whereby bottle bulbs are assembled and installed by local people, who can earn a small income for their work. Within months, one carpenter and one set of tools in one community in San Pedro, Laguna, expanded the organization to 15,000 solar bottle bulb installations in 20 cities and provinces around the Philippines, and began to inspire local initiatives around the world.[5] MyShelter Foundation also established a training center that conducts workshops with youth, business companies, and other groups who are interested in volunteering their time to build lights in their communities.

In less than a year since inception, over 200,000 bottle bulbs were installed in communities around the world. Liter of Light has a goal to light up 1 million homes by the end of 2015.[6]

About the MyShelter Foundation[edit]

MyShelter Foundation was established by Illac Diaz in 2006 to create a system of sustainability and reliability through its capability-building and employment-generating projects.[5] Based on the concepts of social enterprise, appropriate low-cost technologies, and alternative construction in the Philippines, MyShelter Foundation has pioneered projects such as the Pier One Seafarer’s Dormitory, the Design Against the Elements (DAtE) competition, and the Bottle School Project.

Technology description[edit]

Cross-section schematic of a Liter of Light solar bottle
Blue: Bottle with water and bleach
Green: Glue or sealant
Purple: Steel plate with hole

The Solar Bottle Bulb, as it has also been called,[7] is installed in the roof of homes with the purpose of refracting sunlight in order to light up a room. The project’s innovation lies in its utilization of cheap, durable and readily available materials to produce high quality natural lighting enabling the urban poor to have access to an affordable, environmentally friendly long-term alternative to electric light for use during the day.

Most of the plastic bottles used are recycled 1.5 liter bottles. After being filled with water and a little bleach, the bottle is pushed through a steel sheet that serves as a metal lock to prevent it from slipping. It is then embedded into a corrugated iron roof. A small part of the bottle is left outside while the rest of it protrudes into the house. Sealant is put around the hole made in the roof to keep it weather proof. The refractive properties of water ensures that the light from the sun that reaches the inside of the bottle becomes omni-directional mimicking an electric light bulb and emitting the same amount of light as a 40–60 W incandescent bulb depending on the amount of solar insolation available. Adding bleach to the water prevents it from turning green with algae and ensures a high quality light keeping the water clear for a longer time. In order to facilitate use of the invention through open source mechanisms, step-by-step guides on materials and installation are available online.[8]


Using an appropriate durable, leak-proof, space-filling glue, that does not melt because of the sun, is one of the main challenges for the solution. Many local groups are experimenting with different glues to find the best solution for both costs and quality. It was usually found that silicone-based or polyurethane glues work best.[citation needed] The inventor, Alfredo Moser, used a polyester resin.[9]



A local project is underway.[10]


Liter of Light Bangladesh was started by Shanjidul Alam Seban Shaan under Lights Foundation in 2015 working on bottle light project in Chittagong.[11] They made the local version of bottle light named 'Botol Bati' which costs around 2-2.5 USD and sustains for 4–5 years. Their R&D department working on the local night version of bottle light which can light up remote areas like Sundarbans, Cox's Bazar Kutubdia Upazila, Khagrachari District etc. where electricity is not available sufficiently, which will cost less than 6 dollars to make and will sustain for 4–5 years. They aim to spread the awareness about bottle light to the remote areas by training the local school students. Around 44.80% of Bangladeshi people have no access to electricity, around 24% of the total population are slum dwellers where people use illegal electricity, millions of people live in hilltract areas, where electricity is not available sufficiently; Lights Foundation's aim is to serve those people.[12] Lights Foundation became the country partner of Liter of Light by launching Liter of Light Bangladesh officially, and Shanjidul Alam Seban Shaan became the Executive Director. [13] Liter of Light Bangladesh started spreading the idea in New York and other states.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20] [21]




Liter Of Light China was created by three international students from China in 2016, and the first project in Rudong will be conducted in the early summer, 2017.


The movement in Colombia was started by Camilo Herrera in a small town called Duitama in the Boyaca Department, approximately 200 kilometers from Bogota.[23][24] After launching a pilot in Bogota in collaboration with Liter of Light Switzerland in February 2012, a local Bogota organization was created. The first bottles in Bogota were installed in the areas of Divino Niño and La Colina of Ciudad Bolíva.[25] The volunteers in Bogota are also working closely with Un Techo Para Mi Pais to identify areas in need.[26]

Dominican Republic[edit]

Liter of Light was started up in the Dominican Republic by the German volunteer Nicolai Rapp in 2015 who then distributed the project with other German and local volunteers in over 7 provinces. They achieved the installation of bottle and solar nightlights in more than 1000 houses with global fundraising. In the focus of their movement are the rural areas without or with limited access to electricity. They also presented the idea of Liter of Light to several local NGO´s in seminars and workshops to reach all the off-grid communities of the country. Recently, their efforts also focused on bringing the project to Haiti, where around 75% of the population has to live without access to electricity.


A group of seven students from the French University in Egypt (UFE) have begun Liter of Light locally in the context of a social and environmental development project.[citation needed] In November 2014, PepsiCo announced that they will implement Liter of Light in 3 villages in upper Egypt, with two partners : SunUtions Company for solar solutions and Masr ElKheir organization.[27]


In 2015, Liter of Light France was created. The French branch is developing an important link between pedagogical project in Europe and the international cooperation around the world. The NGO wants in Europe to make the new generation aware of the energy poverty reality and show that they can have, with a small activity, a huge social and environmental impact. The NGO wants, as well, to deliver the message to developing countries that a new generation all around the world are caring about the World Citizenship. During International cooperation, Liter of Light France is underlining the main philosophies of the movement as technological innovation accessible to everybody, capacity building, and initiatives South-South. The movement in France was started by Olivier Lasbouygues, Paola Sierra and Isabel Rico.


Inspired by the project of Isang Litrong Liwanag, Liter of Light was introduced to the people of India by Pradeep Chanti. [28] The first trial was done in Vikarabad, a rural village in Telangana in 2011. This bulb was successfully installed and is still working. With this experience, the team gradually expanded the concept. Later, Mr. Ranjeet Gakhare, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and Mr. Chaitanya Reddy from Cornell University joined Pradeep and expanded the concept to all over India. With the generous help of several NGOs and various organizations, awareness, campaigns and workshops were conducted in various cities like Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Jalpaiguri, Delhi, etc. Starting with the one bottle in Vikarabad, the team is not only installing several models in houses of the unprivileged, but also mentoring various other organizations, NGOs, student bodies and the people in need. The demonstration of Liter of Light was conducted at TEDxChristUniversity in November 2012.[29] In 2014 it was carried out by Desire Foundation, Bhubaneswar on the coruscating day of Diwali to celebrate the festival of light in a unique style with the underprivileged.

Liter of Light India was nominated for Change Maker's Award by Uttarakhand Sustainable Development Festival and for 'Young Achiever's Award' by prestigious society magazine.

Liter of Light India also takes initiatives like Woman Empowerment, City Cleanliness and Education.


A youth group called Koch Hope has started to install 2L PET bottles in the Korogocho slums.[30] At first the people were skeptical that the bottle installations would let in water, so the first bottles were installed in a local school as a test. The locals thus bought into the idea and the first 100 bulbs were installed in April 2011 for free in hopes to attract interest and donors. Next, the local initiative would like to expand to other areas around Nairobi.[30]


Liter of Light Malaysia ran its first project in June, 2015, and is run by a Malaysia-based social business called Incitement, founded by Zikry Kholil and Daniel de Gruijter, which runs several social initiatives.[31] Liter of Light Malaysia has thus far completed 36 projects, predominantly for marginalized communities in Pahang, Malaysia and the Orang Asli communities living in Cameron Highlands, but also in Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia (Borneo). After Incitement launched Liter of Light Malaysia, it has also pushed Liter of Light into the Italian market under the umbrella of Incitement Italy. To date, Liter of Light Malaysia has installed 1850+ solar powered lamps in the rural areas of Malaysia, effectively providing light at night for more than 6,000 underprivileged Malaysians.[32]


Liter of Light began in Mexico in early 2013, sponsored by Qohélet A.C.[33] Founded by Tere Gonzalez, who had previously worked with Liter of Light in India & Spain, the group began operations with a pilot program in the state of Chihuahua México, where they were able to benefit 114 people. As of September 2013, they are working to complete the next phase of installations in Ajusco, Mexico City, to benefit a further 500 families.[34]


(PROJECT UJYALO) “Ujyalo” means “the light” in Nepali. Ujyalo is one of the initiatives started by Ujyalo Foundation[35] in Nepal.

Ujyalo creates lighting systems by using wasted plastic bottles that amplify a little amount of solar light with the help of water by refracting it into various directions to light up a room. Ujyalo is inspired by “A Liter of Light” initiative.

This natural bulb aims to create an environmental friendly, energy efficient and cost effective system that can be used to light up homes in Nepal that either do not have access to electricity or cannot afford it. Moreover, this will not only help provide light, but will also help us recycle wasted plastic bottles from the community.


Liter of Light Netherlands aims at realizing projects in suitable countries with the purpose of establishing a local Liter of Light sub-organization and its work is threefold. Prior to the project, the work focuses mainly on gathering information, preparing the projects, promoting and fundraising. During the projects abroad, the project focuses on spreading the idea and inspiring people to get involved with Liter of Light and even starting their own project. Therefore, empowering the partner organization is a major goal and includes holding bottle-building workshops on site and setting up an operational framework. After the project, the partner organizations will be assisted and continuously supported by Liter of Light Netherlands.


A partnership has been created with Ace Welfare Foundation, Pakistan.[36] According to both of the organizations objectives, and considering the situation that more than 11% of the Pakistani population lives without access to the electricity of which 70% of the individuals live in the rural areas in 50,000 villages that are completely detached from the national grid,[37] it has been mutually decided to form a partnership in order to implement A LITER OF LIGHT project in the territory of PAKISTAN, under the representation of ACE WELFARE FOUNDATION, founded by Mr. Vaqas Attaullah Butt. ACE WELFARE FOUNDATION


A local project is underway.


A local project is underway.[citation needed]


The solution was first launched in the Philippines by Illac Diaz under the MyShelter Foundation.[4] As of July 2011, the organization had installed 10,000 bottles in the Philippines [1] and shortly thereafter reached 15,000 installations [5] and their goal for 2012 is to reach 1 million homes.[6] In order to help the idea to grow sustainably, they have implemented a “local entrepreneur” business model, whereby bottles are put together and installed by locals who can in turn earn a small income for their work. Additionally a Liter of Light office has been established that conducts volunteer workshops.


A local project is underway.[citation needed]


Liter of Light Switzerland began as a project of the SIMagination Challenge at the University of St. Gallen.[38] The project grew and was established as a student club at the University of St. Gallen and as a non-profit organization in Switzerland in November 2011.[39] The organization’s first project was to plan and implement a pilot in Bogota together with Litro de Luz Colombia.[40] The pilot took place in February 2012 and together they installed bottles in Ciudad Bolivar, Bogota. Throughout 2012, Liter of Light Switzerland undertook additional projects in Spain, India and Bangladesh.

The Swiss NGO plans to continue sharing lessons learned and spreading the concept via a global platform as well as launching more pilots around the world.[41]


World Unite! in cooperation with local NGOs has started A Liter of Light in Tanzania in April 2013. Project locations are Dar es Salaam, Moshi/Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar.[42]


A local project is underway.[43]

United States[edit]

Liter of Light USA is committed to educating and raising awareness of Liter of Light and its global outreach. The company is headquartered in New York and frequently holds events and workshops in Manhattan. It maintains its own social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google +


A local project is underway.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "10,000 Dirt Cheap and Life-Altering Plastic Lamps Installed in Manila Slums | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building". Inhabitat. Retrieved 2012-10-04.
  2. ^ "Bringing light to the poor, one liter at a time | Video |". Retrieved 2012-10-04.
  3. ^ BBC News article about Alfredo Moser and his invention
  4. ^ a b "A Liter of Light Goes a Long Way (by Ami Valdemoro) | Harvard Students Talk Rio+20". 2012-06-06. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
  5. ^ a b c "A Litre of Light". Retrieved 2012-10-04.
  6. ^ a b ""A Liter of Light" Aims to Illuminate 1 Million Homes With Plastic Solar Bottle Bulbs | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building". Inhabitat. 2012-03-23. Retrieved 2012-10-04.
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  8. ^ "How to Build a Solar Bottle Bulb 2.0 ( Updated English Version)". YouTube. 2011-09-03. Retrieved 2012-10-04.
  9. ^ Zobel, Gibby (13 August 2013). "Alfredo Moser: Bottle light inventor proud to be poor". BBC News. You fix the bottle in with polyester resin. Even when it rains, the roof never leaks—not one drop.
  10. ^ Por Yahoo! Noticias (2011-07-25). "Un litro de luz: botellas de agua para iluminar casas pobres | El blog editorial - Yahoo! Noticias Argentina". Retrieved 2012-10-04.
  11. ^ "Feature: Bottle Light: Light Up Your House For Free!". 2015-05-13.
  12. ^ "অন্ধকার দূর করতে 'বোতল বাতি'". 2015-05-14.
  13. ^ "লাইটস ফাউন্ডেশনের সাথে লিটার অব লাইট যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের চুক্তিস্বাক্ষর - Suprobhat Bangladesh". Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  14. ^ "সহজে বাতি তৈরিতে 'লিটার অব লাইট'". প্রথম আলো (in Bengali). Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  15. ^ "লিটার অব লাইট বাংলাদেশের অনুষ্ঠান নিউইয়র্কে". Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  16. ^ "চট্টগ্রামের লিটার অফ লাইটের অনুষ্ঠান নিউ ইয়র্কে - Daily Manobkantha". Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  17. ^ "Giving the Gift of Light hosted in New York - Young Observer -". The Daily Observer. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  18. ^ "'Liter of Light BD' hosts event in New York". The Bangladesh Post. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  19. ^ Kantho, Kaler. "Liter of Light Bangladesh hosts 'Giving the Gift of Light' in New York | Kaler Kantho". Kaler Kantho (in Bengali). Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  20. ^ "Liter of Light Bangladesh hosts an introductory event in New York". The Daily Star. 2018-04-05. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  21. ^ "Liter of Light Bangladesh hosts an introductory event in New York". The Daily Star. 2018-04-05. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  22. ^ "Globo Reporter - Rede Globo". 2008-07-16. Retrieved 2012-10-04.
  23. ^ "Fundacion Un Litro De Luz Colombia | Inicio". Retrieved 2012-10-04.
  24. ^ "energía solar en Duitama - Colombia Noticias: Actualidad Nacional". Eltiempo.Com. Retrieved 2012-10-04.
  25. ^ "Ciudad Bolívar, Bogotá". Retrieved 2012-10-04.
  26. ^ Archived from the original on May 30, 2012. Retrieved May 31, 2012. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ "بالصور.. "بيبسيكو": نسعى لإنارة القرى الفقيرة في أنحاء مصر". 12 November 2014. External link in |publisher= (help)
  28. ^ "A Liter Of Light India". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
  29. ^ "Wealth from waste: Illac Diaz at TEDxChristUniversity". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-02-20.
  30. ^ a b "Plastic bottle, water help light Kenyan slums". 2011-11-24. Retrieved 2012-10-04.
  31. ^
  32. ^ "Join Liter of Light Malaysia to Eradicate Energy Poverty". Retrieved 2017-01-23.
  33. ^!about/cipy
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  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ "Liter of Light". SIMagination Challenge.
  39. ^ Michael Casey, ap. "20 Minuten - Schweizer erhellen Slums von Bogotá - News". Retrieved 2013-08-13.
  40. ^ 29. März 2012. ""Nachhaltigkeit" in Praxis umgesetzt | NZZ Campus - Studium, Karriere, Hochschulen, Universitäten" (in German). Retrieved 2013-08-13.
  41. ^
  42. ^ Archived from the original on September 4, 2013. Retrieved July 1, 2013. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  43. ^ "liter of light « Joint Energy and Environment Projects". Retrieved 2013-08-13.

External links[edit]