In thousands of homes in developing nations, Pepsi Light has nothing to do with soda.
Solar Bottle Bulbs
Because a plastic soda bottle filled with water and a bit of bleach (to prevent algae) will refract sunlight, all you have to do is squeeze it partially through a hole in a roof. Producing illumination equal to a a 55-watt bulb, the plastic bottle enables families in developing nations to light up their homes during the day. Installed with some sealant to prevent leaks, each one is a dollar or so. And that’s it. No cost to run.
To actually see the concept, this video is perfect.
While the original Moser Lamp needs sunlight to function, the next step was to add a solar panel set-up. Equipped with a 3-watt LED lamp encased in the soda bottle, the device has a solar panel connection. You see where this went. Again costing relatively little, the small lights function when the sun goes down.
The MIT Connection
The last part of our story is the MIT student from the Philippines who saw the potential of solar bottle bulbs. Starting the Liter of Light NGO to spread and further develop the technology, he made sure it would be open source, inexpensive and easily replicable. A bottom-up concept, the poorest communities can make the llghts and install them. Right now, there are more than 250,000 bottle lights in the world.
Our Bottom Line: Human Capital
We can only begin to list the ways that light facilitates human capital formation. At night and during the day in dark rooms, we can read and write, we can cook, we can move more easily. Used in the street, bottle lights hanging from poles create safer streets and longer store hours.
So yes, Pepsi Light is much more than a bottle of soda.