A smart reading lamp that provides up to 100 operating hours per recharge.
SunTurtle is a versatile and smart Solar LED Lamp. Use the handy loop to turn any standard plastic bottle into a practical lamp stand. Or use the patented FlexFoot as a table stand, to mount SunTurtle on the wall or hang from the ceiling. It takes as little as 4 hours of direct sunlight to fully charge the LiFePO battery. SunTurtle has 3 light intensity levels, providing as up to 100 operating hours per recharge.
25 lumen of light
3 years battery life time
Up to 100 hours of light from one charge
1 year warranty
Light source: 1 Samsung LED
Light output high: 25 lumen for 5 hours+
Light output medium: 8 lumen for 15 hours+
Light output low: 1,5 lumen for 100 hours+
LED lifespan: 50.000+ hours
Light distribution: 120 degrees
Colour: Cool white (5.500-6.000 kelvin)
Use SunBell as a task light, ceiling lamp or flashlight.
The SunBell is an exceptionally versatile and rugged Solar LED Lamp and phone charger. It provides light for work and leisure under any conditions. Use the included USB adapter to charge your mobile phone anywhere (best suitable for basic phone). The LiFePO4 battery needs as little as 4 hours of direct sunlight (depending on sun strength) to fully charge. It connects with the lamp through the integrated 3m/9ft cable. Operating hours vary from 4 hours on BRIGHT Mode, to at least 80 hours on Low Mode.
100 lumen of light
5 years battery life time
Up to 80 hours of light from one charge
Mobile phone charging
2 year warranty
Light source: 3 Samsung LEDs
Light output high: 100 lumen for 5 hours+
Light output medium: 20 lumen for 15 hours+
Light output low: 5 lumen for 80 hours+
LED lifespan: 50.000+ hours
Light distribution: 360-90 degrees (dep. on use)
Colour: Cool white (5.500-6.000 kelvin)
One company’s eventful journey from a mountain cabin to making better off-grid living.
November, 2007. Designer Marius Andresen looked set to say something momentous.
He had taken his Oslo-based design office K8 for a spring retreat in his off-grid cabin on the Swedish west-coast. They had written a lofty manifest to “go green and make a difference” beyond the upscale design stores. All they needed now was to figure out how.
“Let’s make something that matters to a lot of people!” is what Andresen said.
Inspired, perhaps, though not all that original. This, however, is where the road diverges between Bright – the company that came to grow from those words – and the hoards of faltering startups with green mission statements. Thousands of research hours, product development and investigative globetrotting later, those ambitions led to a remarkable triumph of sustainable design in the form of rugged solar lamps that is impacting millions of lives.
A bright idea
Soon, Andresen secured an invitation to the Beyond Risør Biennale, a creative workshop for designers and potential industrial partners. Mostly by chance, the K8 designers signed up to work with environmental friendly lighting. Their assignment: “Handy Shine – a mobile torch for home and professional use.”
“The assignment got us going like crazy. It spoke to all our sentiments about being a real challenger,” Andresen remembers.
They discovered the website for Lighting Africa, a joint IMC and World Bank program that supports the global lighting industry in developing affordable, clean, and efficient lighting and energy for off-grid communities. Complete with design parameters, it was their first encounter with “off-grid living” and the 1,2 billion people without access to the electricity grid.
These off-grid communities are places where being out after dark can be treacherous. Where children do their homework in weak lighting from makeshift kerosene lamps that fume gases equivalent to 40 cigarettes a day. Where there are frequent home fires and the danger of children accidentally sipping kerosene from unmarked bottles – and not being able to call for help as mobile phones are frequently uncharged.
An African rural family typically spends 5-10 dollars per month on kerosene – which is a lot for people who make a few dollars per day. They walk or bicycle to the nearest place with electricity and pay 20-30 cents to charge their phones.
K8 had found their main target group.
“Other workshop participants mocked our save-the-world mentality, but it only energized us”, Arnesen says.
The IKEA hack
That most great ideas are born on restaurant napkins or in your sleep is certainly true for SunBell. The solar lamp project had been on the back burner for a while. Andresen woke up one night and hurried into the kitchen. He took a small promotional LED torch he had given his wife, an Ikea plastic cup, a lid from a box of nuts and some tape doubling as a solar panel, and built the first iteration of what was to become the SunBell with all its functionality.
Andresen showed the Ikea hack to his talented rookie colleague Olivier Butstraen who had recently been hired for a trial period at the company. They both knew they were onto something, and between 2009 and 2014 K8 invested thousands of hours in what would become Bright’s baseline product portfolio.
In May 2011, Andresen brought a 3D-printed prototype to a birthday party. Advertising executive Kristian Bye fell head over heels for its sleek smartness:
“It was just beautiful. Every function was tailored to a specific look. It looked like a friendly giraffe with a lamp head making it look inquisitive and sympathetic. I loved it!” Bye says.
The lamp could create light “anywhere” – as a ceiling lamp, reading lamp or flashlight. It could charge mobile phones, was easy to maintain and protect, simple to transport and store in warehouses. It encompassed the hope that renewable technology could contribute to replacing fossil fuel and reduce climate pressures.
“Let’s take this thing to America!”, Bye declared at the party.
So they did. A few months later, they pitched the lamp at Alex Bogusky’s Common Pitch – a famous business pitch competition in Boulder, Colorado.
– The atmosphere was crazy. Had we known how insanely successful the people in the jury were, we would have croaked, Andresen says.
They didn’t croak, and won the event. They went back to Oslo with a duffle bag stuffed with crumpled one-dollar bills and a lot of “When are you moving to The States?” and “I want to invest in your company, son” from cowboy-behatted dollar millionaires.
“We never moved to The States, although Kristian wanted to so badly that his wife began searching for a house in Boulder”, Andresen recalls with a smile.
In November, 2011, Andresen and Bye founded Bright Products. They called the lamp SunBell.
SunBell was developed for the harsh conditions of off-grid living – whether that’s a refugee camp, or a tent on a mountain top. With the support of Innovation Norway, Andresen, Bye and Butstraen traveled and researched, making design adjustments along the way.
“Imagine living a long way from everything and you just sold your kerosene lamp in order to buy a SunBell: You can’t have a button that breaks or solar panel glass that shatters”, Andresen says.
They discovered that some mobile phones gobble electricity and can short-circuit the lamp; that the value of dust and humidity protected plugs cannot be underestimated; that a solar panel covered by glass can shatter; that the wire connecting the solar panel on the roof to a lamp inside can transport water when it rains.
Bright collaborated with Care on a project in Pemba, Tanzania, that provided understanding of financing mechanisms rooted in social structure.
One sunny day in Kenya, Andresen and Bye stumbled into a small Masai house made from cow dung. It had two tiny holes in the wall for letting the light in and the smoke out. A young girl was doing her homework in the dim light from a kerosene lamp.
“Around a corner lay a woman with a newborn child, one day old, trying to stay out of the kerosene smoke. We went outside, half poisoned and with sot in our hair. It was a wake-up call,” Andresen says.
“This was the moment I think both Kristian and I felt a new commitment to making this project happen. We felt we could make a true and real difference in people’s lives.”
Based on the positive initial feedback, Bright attracted investors and able people to their Board. But going to mass production almost proved catastrophic.
In 2013, high production price estimates for SunBell led to the design of the adaptable SunTurtle with Svein Rene, a distributor in Kenya. This product was a smaller and simpler solar lamp that sparked the K8 patented invention of the flat-packed POM-Flex-Foot – solving the problem of the tough-to-ship bulky metal stands of most manufacturers.
“You could say we designed SunTurtle in a panic. It is an excellent product. Panic can be creative,” Andresen says.
Through a German partner, production deals were made for electronic components, production tools and plastic parts in Thailand. But one year after Boulder, production deadlines had come and gone and threatened to upend the company. The lamps were not even near production.
Bright terminated the contracts. Christian Barmen, a Thailand-based logistics expert who had helped streamline production in China and Thailand, came on as an external Chief Operating Officer. He identified subcontractors, negotiated prices, established quality routines, and worked with Bye, Andresen and an Innovation Norway-supported program to identify a new production partner.
In May 2014, Bright threw a big party with investors and collaborators to celebrate the launch of SunBell. However, for Bye the Bright adventure was drawing to a close. Conflicts with the German partners and keeping investors happy was all wearing on him.
“We had arrived at the goal. It may not have been textbook, but we were there. Three years of being responsible for everything that happened – and didn’t happen – at Bright had worn me out. A fantastic journey, but sort of like taking an MBA at a top-flight university and then climbing Mount Everest without oxygen.”
The Chairman of the Board since the beginning, Kjersti Fløgstad, was hands-on. She had been Director at Unicef Norway and on the board of Care. She challenged the founders to bring someone in who could take Bright from promising startup to mature growth.
“We needed to move away from the Boulder mentality,” Bye says.
Bye recommended Ingun Berget, a former classmate from NMH Business School. She had many years of management experience from sales and distribution of consumer goods, and a law degree. In September 2014, Berget agreed to come on as the new CEO of Bright to bring the company to its potential.
One million lamps
In the fall of 2014, solar lamps were defined by the UN as “core relief items”. It was a defining moment for Bright. Through the engaged people at Noreps, the aid arm of Innovation Norway, Andresen and Bye were invited to the UN’s massive camps in Dadaab in Northern Kenya, home to 350.000 Somali refugees. The camps have become permanent cities, with great infrastructure shortcomings. At arrival in Nairobi, their baggage was nowhere to be found.
“Every single lamp was packed in our luggage. We had absolutely nothing to show,” Andresen says.
They made desperate calls to a Danish agent in Kenya with SunBells on stock. At the last minute, 20 lamps were stuffed into a taxi. The plane was held on the tarmac, and every passenger on board took a SunBell as carry-on luggage.
In the camps, the UNHCR representative witnessed the widespread use of mobile phones and the jubilant reception of the SunBell due to its charging capabilities. To sell products to the UN system, however, you need at least 3 years of experience. Bright were taken under the wing of Bergen-based company W. Giertsen Hallsystem, who had delivered energy solutions to the UN for more than 40 years. A few weeks later, the UNHCR filed its first order. By December, 2016, more than 1 million SunBells has helped more than 4 million people to better off-grid living.
“Bright has made the step from being a small startup, to being the UNHCR’s largest provider of solar lamps for the past two years,” Ingun Berget says.
“It feels meaningful to have contributed to providing light for so many people that need it the most, employing hundreds of people at the assembly plants in Thailand and China, parts production, agents and distributors. Still, we only feel like we’re scratching the surface. Our ambitions go beyond this.”
Values for a bright future
Sustainability is a central tenet not only in the product itself, but also in Bright’s philosophy. Bright was the first company in the world to support Future-Fit – a non-profit, open sources sustainable business benchmark. It means that sustainability permeates Bright’s entire value chain.
“We can only succeed as a company if we continue to keep the end user in mind and do it sustainably for all parties throughout the whole value-chain,” Ingun Berget says. “Doing business at others’ expense – whether it’s polluted water from production facilities hurting people in villages down the road, the seller in Uganda who isn’t getting paid, or the customer receiving poor service – is not an option. The right kind of impact will have to be first priority.”
“I studied law because I was curious if law had the power to change society. But I realized that law is first and foremost reactive. It is business that is proactive. It is through business you can lead the way, Berget explains. Combining the two mindsets creates the balance we at Bright believe is necessary to make sustainable change.”
Bright has also worked hard to streamline its organization and its production, professionalized its distribution, and is expanding the product line.
“I strongly believe that by collaborating with the right partners, Bright can achieve great business innovation in our markets. We haven’t gotten this far alone, and we won’t achieve our vision alone going forward, either. These processes may be slower, but by sticking to our core values, we know even greater impact will come at the end of it,” Berget says.
“We strive to be innovative, not only in product design, but in off-grid living in general, in business models and in how we collaborate with partners. Since the beginning, Bright has been a company with people that see and seek new possibilities.”
Collaborative. Sustainable. Innovative. Those values are Bright’s DNA.
One million BRIGHT solar lamps. Improving off-grid lives one light at a time.
One million points of light. That’s how many BRIGHT solar lamps have found their way into off-grid communities by end of December 2016. It is this dedication to improve off-grid living that lies at the heart of Oslo-based BRIGHT’s product development and business ethos. The people at BRIGHT are committed to understanding how affordable, convenient access to light can alleviate the negative effects of living off-grid, and improve family economy, education, health and safety.
1,2 billion people live in off-grid communities in Africa, Asia and South America. This is BRIGHT’s core market. This includes millions of refugees and displaced people that depend on aid and relief organizations.
BRIGHT’s research-based design process entails traveling the world to experience off-grid communities from the inside, first-hand, hands-on. The identified needs are applied to a stringent design and production process, with the sole aim to deliver solutions for better off-grid living. The production of BRIGHT’s durable and applicable products informs every step of the company’s search for innovative customers, partners and employees.
“It’s possible”. BRIGHT’s slogan. It’s possible to create more light anywhere. So children can do their homework at night. So women can light their path at night. So entrepreneurs can run their businesses and charge their phones. So communities can become connected and climb the energy ladder. More than one million BRIGHT lamps are impacting the lives of more than 4 million people. BRIGHT is hard at work to extend its product range, collaborating with both the humanitarian sector as well as commercial distributors to widen its impact and improve living conditions for as many as possible.
BRIGHT was the first company to fully commit to the Future-Fit Business Benchmark, a science-based definition of what it means to be an environmentally sustainable business for the future. BRIGHT is a member of GOGLA (The Off Grid Lighting Association), NOREPS (Norwegian Emergency Preparedness System) and NABA (Norwegian-African Business Association).