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41 Solar Social Business Innovations

From Custom-Printed Sustainable Tees to Clean Tech Nonprofits

— June 2, 2013 — Social Good
These solar social business innovations meld clean and renewable sources of energy with social entrepreneurship and people-oriented projects in an effort to lay claim to what is now known as the triple bottom line.

The most replicated of models in this list (although not entirely ubiquitous) is the solar lamp or lantern, which often uses a "business in a bag" idea in order to replace dangerous kerosene lamps with LED or solar alternatives that cost less, last longer and create markets in the targeted community. From custom-printed sustainable printing services to clean tech non-profit-organizations, these solar social business innovations span a variety of industries and techniques -- and some are less typical than you'd think, for instance, Tropical Wholefoods, which uses solar drying technology to produce their fair trade snacks.
6.3
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
41
Market-Oriented Energy Charities
Market-Oriented Energy Charities
SolarAid Hopes to Get Rid of Kerosene Lamps in Africa by 2020
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40
Ambitious Altruistic Energy Ventures
Ambitious Altruistic Energy Ventures
Barefoot Power Provides Affordable Renewable Light Sources
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39
Rechargeable Solar Lights
Rechargeable Solar Lights
One Million Lights Wants to Replace Dangerous Kerosene Lamps
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38
Illuminating Lifesavers
Illuminating Lifesavers
The Solar-Powered BoGo Light Promotes World Growth and Sustainment
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37
Carbon-Neutral Chocolate Bars
Carbon-Neutral Chocolate Bars
Gru Grococo Makes Going Green Delicious
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36
Carbon Offsetting Cookstoves
Carbon Offsetting Cookstoves
The Paradigm Project Offers A Safe Alternative to Open Fire
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35
Mission-Focused Mentorship
Mission-Focused Mentorship
Global Social Benefit Incubator Launched Kiva, VisionSpring
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34
Community Solar Bonds
Community Solar Bonds
SolarShare Co-op Offers Impact Investors Triple Bottom Line Benefits
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33
Maternal Health Marketplaces
Maternal Health Marketplaces
Maternova is a Socially Driven For-Profit Making Products Available
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32
Energy-Efficient Community Contractors
Energy-Efficient Community Contractors
Solar Works Strives for Business & Homeowner Self-Reliance
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31
Micro-Entrepreneurial Kits
Micro-Entrepreneurial Kits
Living Goods Provides Affordable Necessities in Uganda
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30
Custom-Printed Sustainable Tees
Custom-Printed Sustainable Tees
TS Designs Adheres to the Triple Bottom Line
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29
Neighborhood  Energy Farms
Neighborhood Energy Farms
Community Solar Gardens are Sprouting Up Everywhere
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28
Social Entrepreneurship Retreats
Social Entrepreneurship Retreats
Hollyhock SVI Supports Mission-Based Businesses and Founders
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27
Clean Tech for Non-Profits
Clean Tech for Non-Profits
Sun Light & Power Offers Photovoltaic and Solar Thermal Energy
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26
Holistic Farming Companies
Holistic Farming Companies
Coombe Farm Comprises of Enterprises and Business Partnerships
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25
Global Microfinance Networks
Global Microfinance Networks
FINCA Provides Financial Services to Low-Income Entrepreneurs
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24
Cost-Efficient Solar Kits
Cost-Efficient Solar Kits
Learning Lights Produces Eco-Friendly Power Solutions for Countries
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23
Portable Solar-Powered Chargers
Portable Solar-Powered Chargers
The Waka Waka is an Eco-Friendly Portable Phone Charger
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22
Sustaining Rural Development
Sustaining Rural Development
Barefoot College Supports Professionals in the Majority World
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21
Illuminated Education Incentives
Illuminated Education Incentives
Selco Solar Provides Developing Countries an Opportunity
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20
Group Solar Deals
Group Solar Deals
One Block Off the Grid (1BOG) Helps Neighbours Get Discounts on Green Energy
<
19
Incubating Himalayan Innovation
Incubating Himalayan Innovation
'One Earth Designs' Promotes Eco and Social Entrepreneurship
<
18
Affordable Solar Light Alternatives
Affordable Solar Light Alternatives
WAKAWAKA is an Innovative Lamp for Those Without Electricity
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17
Isolated Social Enterprise Models
Isolated Social Enterprise Models
BRAC is a Global Organization Boasting a Bottom-up Method
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16
Energy-Generating Fitness Clubs
Energy-Generating Fitness Clubs
The Green Microgym in Portland, OR is Powered by Your Workout
<
15
Experience-Creating Cleaners
Experience-Creating Cleaners
The Eco Laundry Room Has a Cafe, Kid's Play Area and Free WiFi
<
14
Sustainable Shade Systems
Sustainable Shade Systems
Skyshade is an Indian Social Business Capturing the Sun
<
13
Fair Trade Dried Goods
Fair Trade Dried Goods
Tropical Wholefoods Works with Farmers from All Over the World
<
12
Low-Cost Solar Lanterns
Low-Cost Solar Lanterns
D.Light Design Wins Ashden Award for a Lamp Brighter than Kerosene
<
11
Savvy Inflatable Solar Lamps
Savvy Inflatable Solar Lamps
The LuminAID Light Is Affordable, Waterproof and Last 3 Years
<
10
Design-Focused LED Lanterns
Design-Focused LED Lanterns
‘d.light’ Offers Affordable Solar Lamps to Rural Communities
<
9
Energy Poverty Entrepreneurs
Energy Poverty Entrepreneurs
Solar Sister Targets Women to Sell Lamps and Improve Livelihoods
<
8
Pay-As-You-Go Renewable Energy
Pay-As-You-Go Renewable Energy
Angaza Design Makes Clean Energy Accessible Off the Grid
<
7
Helmet Vending Machines
Helmet Vending Machines
The 'Helmethub' Dispenses Helmets to Riders Renting Bikes
<
6
Carbon-Negative Stoves
Carbon-Negative Stoves
Inyenyeri Uses Crowdsourced Biofuel to Transform Energy Systems in Rwanda
<
5
$20-Per-Month Homes
$20-Per-Month Homes
Each WorldHaus is Built in 10 Days and is Designed for the World's Rural Poor
<
4
Ethical Undergarment Production
Ethical Undergarment Production
Flint and Tinder Produces Locally Made Men's Underwear
<
3
Pay-as-You-Go Energy
Pay-as-You-Go Energy
Simpa Networks Offers Solar Power to Underserved Markets in India
<
2
DIY Battery Manufacturing Kits
DIY Battery Manufacturing Kits
The Solar Pocket Factory is Tiny Idea That Shines Bright
<
1
Sustainable Hipster Fashion
Sustainable Hipster Fashion
'Threads for Thought' is Eco and Donates Proceeds for Good
<