Bernard Hulshof

Science for the benefit of people. All people. Worldwide.

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Solar products that make a difference

After travelling extensively and experiencing first-hand the emerging markets in Africa, the founding duo of SolarWorks! had similar ideas about what communities with little or no access to electricity needed: light. Access to a light source is an issue for people, and providing a solution to this problem will help make a difference to their lives. The pair teamed up to create the ultimate solar light.

For Hulshof, alumnus of Delft University of Technology, it all began whilst looking for a graduation project: “I thought it would be great if I could do something useful with it.” His search led him to Madagascar where he designed a light that ran on solar energy. Here he met Arnoud de Vroomen who had travelled 60,000 miles through Africa documenting innovation and entrepreneurship. They set up a business with the mission to create a well-made, durable, reliable and affordable solar product. In addition they wanted it to be visually appealing. “Affordable products do not need to be ugly; it’s just a matter of being very creative during the design and development process.”

  • ENERGY

What’s innovative about their work is not in the technology, but in the approach: understanding what people want and designing for that, instead of doing something really technical. “We spend a lot of time and effort on design to make our products aspirational, that’s what people in our target group want, and we don’t really see that with other companies.” Their products are unique in that they can charge all types of mobile phones, and can also be charged via a car battery or or via the electricity grid.

Today, the head office for product development is located in the YES!Delft incubator in Delft. They work with local agents in Johannesburg, South Africa. And recently they expanded to Mozambique. There are currently three products on the market, but the future holds bigger plans. “Our biggest development at the moment is working towards providing energy using a pay-as-you-go model, instead of selling a light. It’s not energy as a service yet, but close to it. We are working closely with PhD Nishant Narayan from Delft University of Technology.

Co-founder: Arnoud de Vroomen

Global Challenges
Acces to affordable energy in emerging countries for people at the base of the pyramid

High-tech Science
Create well-made, durable, reliable and affordable solar products with solar power, storage, power electronics, power management

Co-Creation
City Power (South Africa), Indian Institute of Technology, Guhawati (India), Telemed Africa (South Africa), KamWorks (Cambodia)

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