Our Story

In 2011, inventor and social impact entrepreneur Simon Doble read an article in Time magazine that opened his eyes to the harsh reality of the billions of people who live without safe and reliable lighting. A humanitarian at heart Simon felt inspired to use his skills to create a solution that would improve their lives.
The result was a renewable energy-powered light that became a solution in refugee camps across the world. But through finding one solution, he soon realised the enormity of energy poverty, and set about raising global awareness and designing solar light solutions for the most at risk communities. And in May 2016, SolarBuddy was launched.

Our Goal

To unite a global community to gift 6 million solar lights to children living in energy poverty by 2030, to help them to study after dusk and improve their education outcomes.
Through engagement in our programs we inspire our community to learn how innovative design solutions can help create a more sustainable world for all people and our planet, and demonstrate how their gift of lights can transform lives.

Timeline

2011 – 2019

2011
Simon reads a Time Magazine article on energy poverty and it has a life-changing impact. Purchases and moves into a humanitarian tent.
2012
Invents and designs a PowerPole prototype to illuminate humanitarian tents in refugee camps. Pitches design to UNHCR in Geneva. Invited to learn advanced renewable energy technology at the University of Ulm, Germany and Solar Energy Research Institute, Singapore.
2013
Pilots PowerPole and installs first solar street light in refugee camps. Launches BrightBeam at the Lighting Africa conference, Dakar, Senegal, providing lighting solutions for humanitarian purposes.
2014
Pushes for solar lights to be included as a core relief item in UNHCR disaster relief kits. Signs long term contracts with UNHCR and National Tent House, the second largest supplier of tents to humanitarian agencies.
2015
Starts to conceive the idea of SolarBuddy and how to connect children and communities around the world combining education with innovative design for social good.
2016
Registers SolarBuddy as a charity and pilots education program with immediate positive impact. Launches ACARA aligned education program in Australia and pilots program at selected international schools.
2018
Launches conference and events program at a global conference in Oman and attracts action of multinational corporations. Pilots tailored program for children living in energy poverty who make and keep their lights.
2019
SolarBuddy expands rapidly across Australia and international markets and scales its empowerment programs and partnerships model. Pilots new StudentBuddy Program, featuring a more complex solar system to be assembled by high school students.
2011
Simon reads Time magazine article on energy poverty, purchases and moves into a humanitarian tent.
2012
Invents and designs a power pole prototype for humanitarian tents and pitches design to UNHCR in Geneva.
2013
Pilots PowerPole invention and installs first solar street light in refugee camps.
2014
Pushes for solar lights to be included as a core relief item in UNHCR disaster relief kits.
2015
Starts to conceive the idea of SolarBuddy and how to connect children and communities around the world combining education with innovative design for social good.
2016
Registers SolarBuddy and launches education program in Australia with the aim to connect children with children around the world.
2018
Launches SolarBuddy conference and events program in Oman at a major global gathering.
2019
SolarBuddy gains international notoriety and expands rapidly across Australia and international markets.