About

SolarBuddy Ltd is an Australian registered charity. Our goal is to end the devastating cycle of energy poverty for marginalised communities across the world. We aim to achieve this by educating Australian children about energy poverty, renewable energy and global citizenship.

Our mission is to provide safe, reliable, effective and innovative solar energy solutions to communities who suffer from the limiting effects of energy poverty. Our school programs and partnerships aim to connect communities across the globe, combining learning and education with assistance and aid. We believe that renewable energy has the ability to change lives forever, providing future generations with the opportunity to reach their full potential.

2016-06-0800-59-23     Uganda SolarBuddy 2


SolarBuddy created the Buddy2Buddy Schools Program to connect Australian school communities who want to make a difference with other children and communities in areas throughout the world that live in energy poverty.

Purchasing and building a SolarBuddy light at school teaches Australian children about the positive impact of renewable energy on communities living in energy poverty. Sending that light to a child in need, along with a personal letter, can make a huge difference to their life.  

Our aim is to involve as many schools as possible in the Buddy2Buddy program on an ongoing basis. We want thousands of schools across Australia and the world to give the gift of light to others every year, helping to end energy poverty one child and one community at a time.   

We believe that learning about renewable energy has the ability to change lives forever, providing future generations with the opportunity to reach their full potential.

We have worked all across Australia

Since early 2016 SolarBuddy has connected with schools across Australia to provide help for communities across the developing world. We work with teachers, school children, individuals and organisations to show how they can change lives with the provision of a clean, safe source of energy.


Select the State to view schools and organisations.

About the SolarBuddy Light

Technical Specifications

  • 0.6W Solar Panel.
  • 60 Lumen Light Output
  • 2 Brightness Settings 50% & 100%
  • Waterproof - IP65 rated
  • 10 Hours of Light on Full
  • 16 Hours of Light on Half
  • 750mAh 3.6V Ni-Mh Battery
  • 8 Hours Solar Charge Time
  • LED Charging Indicator
  • Overcharge Protection
  • Over-Discharge Protection

Features and Functions

  • SolarBuddy lights are used by Non Government Organisations around the world including Australian Aid, Red Cross and the UN.
  • SolarBuddy lights are used by Non Government Organisations around the world including Australian Aid, Red Cross and the UN.
  • They are constructed from high UV resistant plastic and are encased in a tough rubber bumper to protect against accidental damage.
  • SolarBuddy lights have been designed so that Australian children as young as 6 can assemble them, each connection is colour coded and full instructions are provided with each light.
  • Assembly only requires a screwdriver which is also provided.
  • There is no risk of injury or shock to the person conducting the assembly and no risk of damaging the product during assembly if the simple instructions are followed.

The Team

Simon Doble

Chief Executive Officer of SolarBuddy & Founder & Chief Executive Officer of The Doble Group

The Doble Group was founded by Simon with a vision to develop innovatively designed and superior performing solar lighting solutions for the billions of people and millions of refugees living in energy poverty.

Simon was a founding member of GOGLA (Global Off-Grid Lighting Association); and was an early member of Lighting Africa.  He was a founding member of the Moving Energy Initiative of Chatham House, London, UK an initiative funded by DFID to develop an understanding of the solar needs of refugees across the world. Simon was also a member of the UNHCR committee to include solar products as core relief items for all refugees and internally displaced people around the world.

As CEO of SolarBuddy, he is also working closely with Mike Trust on educating the next generation of Australians towards a more sustainable future whilst empowering them to make a positive impact now in the fight against energy poverty via the innovative Buddy2Buddy solar light program.

Simon studied Business at Brunel University in London, United Kingdom and is also a published children’s book author and a father of three children.

Mike Trust

Chief Operating Officer for SolarBuddy, Director & Chairman of the Doble Group and Managing Director & CEO of Sunworks Solar Pty Ltd

Mike started his career in investment banking with de Zoete and Bevan, a small stockbroking business based in London. The business was taken over by Barclays Bank and he continued to work for the organsation in a number of roles. In 1995 he was transferred to Barclays Tokyo as Chief Operating Officer for the Japanese Equity Division. He was subsequently promoted to the position of Chief Operations Officer for the entire Japanese operation.

In May 2000 he was transferred to Sydney, taking up the role of Chief Operations Officer for the Australian and New Zealand division of Barclays Bank. In 2003 he left Barclays and moved to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland where he founded Sunshine Coast Solar Centre (now Sunworks Solar Pty Ltd), a successful retailer and installer of commercial and residential solar power and solar hot water systems.

He works closely with Simon Doble and together they recently launched SolarBuddy, a NFP which aims to educate Australian schoolchildren about energy poverty and empower them to make a positive impact via the innovative Buddy2Buddy solar light program.

In his spare time, Mike enjoys spending time with his family and indulging in his passion for fishing.

Aysegul Kayahan

Member of the Board

Aysegul has invested in more than 25 startups across a number of industries since 2009 and mentors scalable science and technology startups through Brisbane accelerators. She is on the board of Five Faces and on the advisory board of ProcessPA. Aysegul is an experienced company director and global mobility professional who is the founding partner and principal of Relocation Specialists.

Aysegul has a Bachelor of Science (1985) and a Graduate Master of Arts majoring in Ethics (2010) from the University of Queensland. Aysegul has a strong commitment to Business Ethics and Social Justice. Her investments increasingly are in organisations that are meaningfully contributing to the social good.

Jo-Anna Crawford-Bryde

Member of the Board

Jo-Anna is an education specialist with over 27 years of experience across a range of sectors.

For the past 15 years Jo-Anna’s focus of work has been in the education aid and development field. Major contributions have been to education and curriculum reform projects around the Pacific including work in Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Fiji, Nauru, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Indonesia.

Jo-Anna’s areas of expertise include curriculum and materials development, teacher training and professional development, development of minimum service standards, leadership and institutional strengthening.

Prior to her work internationally, Jo-Anna worked as founding Principal of the Griffith University and Toohey Forest Eco-Centre and held senior executive positions in the Department of Education, Queensland.

Jo-Anna has also worked at the Queensland Curriculum Council on the development of the Queensland SOSE syllabus; as a classroom teacher in a range of Queensland schools and as a sessional lecturer at Griffith University.

Jo-Anna’s has a passion for environmental education and her research has focussed on this
specific field.

Billie Murphy

School Liaison Officer

Billie is a qualified primary school teacher from England. She studied Sport and Exercise Science at The University of Leeds followed by undertaking her Post Graduate Certificate in Education. Once qualified, Billie taught a Year 4 and Year 5 class for two years. During this period of time, she enquired a real passion for guiding children within the classroom to learn and progress and also helping her pupils become people who respect and understand the world around them.

Her role at SolarBuddy will therefore align with her ethic’s, teaching children not to just be smarter but kinder too.

Nicole Peman

Grants, Monitoring and Evaluations Manager

Nicole is currently undertaking her PhD at the University of Queensland in the Energy & Poverty Research Group. Her research aims to explore the significance of intrinsic psychological factors in the context of women as entrepreneurs and leaders in the fight against energy poverty. More specifically, Nicole is interested in developing behavioural strategies that cultivate women’s intrinsic capabilities and empowerment whilst evaluating their impact on the dissemination and uptake of energy solutions, through gender and culture sensitive business models.

Nicole is a graduate from The University of Queensland with first class honours qualifications in psychological science. While studying, Nicole worked with Indigenous Australian youths under the Child protection Services to provide care and behavioural support. Since graduating, she has worked in a research centre, assisting in the evaluation of innovative behavioural strategies with parents in impoverished settings, such as Kenya, China and Latin America. Nicole is also on the National Council for Young Women Australia and a UNWomen, IWD Brisbane Committee member.

In line with Nicole’s passion for working with people in disadvantaged communities, Nicole will be managing SolarBuddy’s grant identification and application process as well as the monitoring and evaluation of the program’s effects. Nicole hopes to assist in the development of SolarBuddy as an organisation and their ability to scale up and impact hundreds of thousands of children’s lives around the world.

Laura Stephens

Media and Communications Officer

As a journalist, I have always wanted to apply my writing and communications skills to helping others. I first found out about the issue of energy poverty indirectly through a story I was writing about wireless mesh networking and white space technologies, new telecommunications systems that could allow the delivery of Internet services to people in rural and remote areas globally. It then became clear to me that not only do these areas lack telecommunications infrastructure but they also have no electricity. All you need to do to understand the disparity of access is to look at a satellite image of the world at night and you will see the great swathes of darkness. Yet the significance of that darkness had never occurred to me until then.

That is why I am so excited and honoured to be involved in the work of SolarBuddy, to contribute on some level to raising awareness of and rectifying that disparity of energy access, and doing so in a way that does not further harm the planet.

Jen Wu

IT Advisor

Jen is a creative IT professional that uses conventional and unconventional methods to deliver results for organisations.  She has been working within the ICT industry for 10 years in both private and public sectors.
 
Currently, she is working for TechnologyOne, an Australian enterprise software company within the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) area.  Professionally, she is passionate about using technology as an enabler to simplify complex business problems.  At a personal level, she enjoys helping people; especially focusing on improving the lives of others.
 
Jen will be advising SolarBuddy on how to leverage various SaaS products as the organisation implement processes to help with its growth and scale.
 
I am delighted to be part of the SolarBuddy team and look forward to working with everyone.  I think SolarBuddy is unique and innovative in terms of being able to contribute to our local children’s education about solar energy and the less fortunate, as well as providing impact and aid to children experiencing energy poverty globally.  
 
It’s just awesome!

Tia Luker

SolarBuddy China

When SolarBuddy completed their pilot project at my school, I knew I had to get involved. The effect this project had on both myself and my students moved me immensely. As a teacher, I believe education can change the world and SolarBuddy makes me hopeful for a brighter future, especially  for those 1.3 billion people affected by energy poverty. 

Teaching for ten years, I have had a lot of  culturally different experiences: teaching African refugees; Korean elementary school; Canadian middle school and high school; and now have been teaching grade five for the last three years in China.   These experiences teaching different cultures and age groups has l afforded  me this unique opportunity to work as SolarBuddy’s Head of Education. Being passionate about the Sciences and environmental stewardship,  I am proud and excited to share lessons designed to engage young learners about energy poverty and renewable energy.  I believe that through SolarBuddy and engaging children through education, we can all be part of the solution to this global crisis.  I look forward to continuing to work with SolarBuddy and its supporters in the future. Together, we can end energy poverty.

Kate Rowland

SolarBuddy New Zealand

The passion to eliminate energy poverty via renewables has always been a great one. It’s programs like this that help right from the core! Education, awareness, help and empowerment. Working to prevent further environmental damage and offering economic freedom – that’s what it’s all about. . So pleased to be part of the team!

Greg Maloney

SolarBuddy Thailand

I first learned about energy poverty and how the SolarBuddy initiative was developed to tackle the problem whilst travelling around Asia with Simon Doble I was hooked.

After returning from the trip I spent a lot of time researching  energy poverty and the benefits renewable energy can have for people living in energy poverty as well as tackling the issue of climate change.

Living in Thailand, the effects of energy poverty are close to home. There are over 100,000 Burmese refugees still living in camps on the Myanmar/Thai border with little or no access to electricity and thousands of other native Thai’s living in rural areas also affected.

The temples many Buddhist monks reside in also have no electricity and rely on candles and kerosene lamps for lighting. By educating the Thai community about the problems, and by providing a solution, my partner Tarn & I are confident we can make a positive impact here and in neighbouring countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.

Hopefully my many years of experience working in the aviation supply chain sector may also help resolve any logistics issues this rapidly growing, multi-national initiative may encounter.

Skye Butcher

Junior Ambassador

SolarBuddy is important to me because I understand the impact of the one small light. The light saves lives, the environment and creates a space where children and families can work and learn in safety.

Energy poverty can ruin the futures of the children forced to live in it and to me that is important to fix. Breaking the cycle of energy poverty is essentials and SolarBuddy gives them an important part of what they need to have a safe and healthy future.

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