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Solar light bulb a sight for sore eyes

The Nokero N180-Start retails for US$6

Greg-Gazin-Senior-EditorEDMONTON, AB, Dec 3, 2013/ Troy Media/ – In early 2010, Steve Katsaros, a mechanical engineer and former ski racer had a brilliant idea: to develop a simple, yet inexpensive solar light bulb that could be used almost anywhere. His idea has recently come to fruition as his company, Denver-based Nokero, launched the world’s most affordable solar light bulb.

The new light bulb will certainly be a sight for sore eyes (pardon the pun) for the over 1.3 billion people, about 20 per cent of the world’s population, who, according to the a International Energy Agency (IEA), live without access to electricity. That number has certainly grown because of natural disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

The solar light bulb, the N180-Start, is a single wide-angle LED light that produces a brightness of about 5 lumens and will run for about four hours on a single AAA NiMH 400mAh battery. The battery can be recharged via sunlight through the unit’s onboard solar panel. Life expectancy of the battery is 1.5 to two years and five to 10 years on the LED bulb.

The unit is housed in a rainproof polypropylene case covered with a polycarbonate plastic globe to protect it from damage. It has a powder-coated steel hanger so it can hang almost anywhere. It has a simple two-way switch that can be positioned to either off or auto. The latter setting allows the lamp to automatically switch itself off when a certain level of light is reached.

The Nokero N180-Start retails for only US$6.

Many of us take electricity for granted; so 5 lumens may not seem like much, but that’s more light than what is generated by a kerosene lamp (Nokero, by the way stands for No Kerosene). Nokero CEO Katsaros is hoping his solar bulb will replace the kerosene lamps that are still used in many parts of the world..

Unfortunately, the cost of kerosene and other fuels alone can eat up 25 per cent or more of household income. So Katsaros hopes his solar light bulb will change the lives of millions of impoverished people, many of whom make less than $5 a day. The N180-Start is also reasonably durable.

Furthermore, kerosene contributes to greenhouse gases and causes health issues associated with chronic obstructive respiratory disease [COPD] which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), people develop after exposure to using these types of devices, especially when used indoors.

Kerosene lamps are also fire hazards. According to IEA, burns from them are extremely common with more than a million people a year dying because of their use. Not to mention the damage to property.

This rings more true in places like the Philippines, where the typhoon has possibly caused many chemicals and combustibles to mix, making the use of Kerosene potentially more dangerous.

bulb250While the N180-Start is the most affordable, Nokero has a number of other solar products that are designed for everyone. The N200-Crestone Solar Light Bulb ($15) is a 4-LED bulb that offers a brightness of 5 or 13 lumens depending on the setting.

It also offers the N220-Huron Solar Powered Light ($45) that’s both a solar light and a USB phone charger. It has three coloured shells – white, green and red, offers a maximum brightness of 50 lumens and can run up to 16 hours on low setting. It can also be charged via AC or USB.

To aid victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, Nokero is offering heavily discounted N200 models that can be sent directly to the Philippines for families in need. It will also send over a free N200 for every N222 that you purchase for yourself.

For more information, visit Nokero.com.

Senior Editor Greg Gazin is a  Syndicated Tech Columnist, Small Business and Technology Speaker. He can be reached at Gadgetguy.CA on Twitter @gadgetgreg or you can find him on Empire Avenue at (e)GADGET1.

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