Finance Score: -2
Governance Score: 9
Support Score: 3
  • Strong growth: +2
  • Deficit latest year: -2
  • Fundraising costs high: -2
  • Good trustee age range: +3
  • Dynamic board: +3
  • Gender balanced board: +3
  • Grant maker support: +3
Overall GiG Score: 10 ?

SOLAR AID 

Overview

SolarAid educate people in the merits of solar powered lighting in remote rural communities of African countries to stimulate solar lighting markets. They introduce solar products through their social enterprise, SunnyMoney that encourages job creation and ensures money stays in local economies.

They have been nimble on their feet and adjusted rapidly, evolving their programme from market competitor to innovator. Their work now introduces solar technologies to the most remote and hard to reach communities, reducing environmental damage caused by burning kerosene lamps and increasing the time young people spend studying. They have high hopes that proactively sharing their model will allow them to achieve their target of leaving no African home, school or clinic in the dark by the end of the decade.

Source: Giving is Great

Mission:

To light up every home, school and clinic in Africa using safe, clean solar power
Analysis by Giving is Great

Positives:

  • The charity has received backing from several prominent grant makers recently
  • There has been strong growth in spending over the last 5 years
  • There have been no material income shortfalls in recent years
  • The Board appears to be well diversified in terms of age and gender and dynamic in terms of composition

Financial issues to consider:

  • Income was lower than spending in the latest year
  • Fundraising costs are high relative to funds raised
Comment by the Charity:
    Over the last 4 years, SolarAid have had steady growth in unrestricted funds. This in turn has allowed SolarAid to develop its new strategy and implement innovative projects - which in turn are now starting to attract larger grants.

Financial Data ?

Income & Spending ?
Sources of Income ?
Y/E Income
£k
Spending
£k
Surplus/
Deficit
Fundraising
Cost £k
Total
Funds £k
Unrestricted
Funds £k
Mths
Rsrvs
Staff Volun-
teers
31/03/23£2,797£3,176£-379£670£2,050£1,8937.2890
31/03/22£2,800£2,438£362£478£2,429£2,25811.1760
31/03/21£1,729£1,739£-10£301£2,119£1,73812470
31/03/20£2,547£1,932£615£237£2,009£1,98512.3433
31/03/19£2,258£1,493£765£174£1,382£1,24810415
31/03/18£1,424£1,354£71£138£541£4774.2400
31/03/17£1,831£1,629£201£126£471£1951.4410
31/03/16*£2,564£3,147£-583£250£269£1370.5760
31/03/15£6,192£6,327£-135£380£852£1090.21070
31/03/14£6,333£6,028£305£377£987£970.21010
31/03/13*£3,590£4,481£-891£299£682£2630.7810
31/03/12*£2,697£3,357£-661£321£1,329£5672440
31/03/11£2,686£2,269£417£173£1,989£4572.4380
31/03/10£2,112£1,291£821£119£1,572£4364.1110
31/03/09£1,326£891£435£134£752£1722.360
31/03/08£574£301£272£60£317£1987.920
31/03/07£80£36£45£0£0£0n/a00

Financial Ratios
Fundraising Costs/Relevant Income: 24%
Fundraising Costs/Total Spending: 21.1%
Senior Staff Costs/Total Spending: 4%
Highest pay band: £90,000-£100,000
Liabilities/Assets: 17%
Liabilities/Income: 15%
Unrestricted Funds/Total Funds: 92%
Reserves/Spending: 7.2 months
Net Current Assets/Spending: 7 months
Quick Ratio: 2.9
Asset Split ?
Comment: The sharp fall in revenue after 2015 reflected the decision to withdraw from activity in Tanzania, and then Kenya, where SolarAid was the biggest distributor of solar lights, due to greatly increased local competition. This increased local competition in part due to the markets SolarAid had helped catalyse.i.e. SolarAid helped create the conditions for it to withdraw its operations.

SolarCentury are founding partners who set up SolarAid as soon as their company became profitable. Statkraft acquired SolarCentury in 2020 and committed £2 million in support over three years in 2021.

Source: Giving is Great

Established: 18 years
(24 years as a company)

www.solar-aid.org

info@solar-aid.org

02072780400

Charity Commission for England and WalesCompanies HouseFacebookInstagramXYouTube
UN SDGs
?
How you can help
What it does
SolarAid combats poverty and climate change by providing access to solar lights in Africa to help catalyse solar markets and eradicate the kerosene lamp. We have created a social enterprise, SunnyMoney, who sell lights via sustainable school networks and local enterprises.
Listed activities
  • Economic/Community Development/Employment
  • Education/Training
  • Environment/Conservation/Heritage
  • The Prevention Or Relief Of Poverty
GiG Classification
  • Climate emergency
How it operates
  • Provides advocacy/advice/information
  • Provides buildings/facilities/open space
  • Provides human resources
  • Provides services
  • Sponsors or undertakes research
Where it operates
  • Malawi, Zambia,
Who it helps
  • Children/Young People
  • Elderly/Old People
  • Other Charities Or Voluntary Bodies
  • People With Disabilities
  • The General Public/Mankind

Who's supporting them? ?

Donations from Grant Makers ?

We have details on the following significant donations. Multi-year donations are allocated to the years for which they are earmarked.

Specific Donations
Amount When
Months
To be used for
The EQ Foundation - Grant to Solar Aid
£25,000 16/03/2024
Towards Light a Village Project
The EQ Foundation - Grant to Solar Aid
£20,000 16/02/2023
12
Big Give Green Match
The EQ Foundation - Grant to Solar Aid
£5,000 16/05/2022
Big Give Green Match
The EQ Foundation - Grant to Solar Aid
£20,000 15/12/2021
Big Give Pledge
The EQ Foundation - Grant to Solar Aid
£17,500 05/02/2021
Big Give Christmas Challenge 2020

Data sourced from Donors via 360 Giving

How do they operate?

SunnyMoney

Objectives: To provide access to solar lights and help catalyse solar markets with renewable light

Beneficiaries: Local communities in Africa

Description: Solar Aids model is built on selling lights through their social enterprise, SunnyMoney. This allows money to be reinvested back into their work, encourages job creation and ensures money stays in the local economy. Through working as a social enterprise, they can do things that conventional businesses can’t. They travel to remote rural communities, educate people about the benefits of solar, instil trust and build demand. They help get lights to the people that need them most – and if they are unable to afford them – then they think of new and innovative ways to help them get on the energy ladder, such as pioneering a pay as you use service.

How effective are they?
Outputs
Outcomes
Y/ESolar lights distributedPeople reached with solar lightAmount saved by not having to purchase alternative light sourcesKgs of CO2 emissions averted
31/03/202142,507235,461£1,637,91520,356,000
Commentary: SolarAid have varied in impact historically due to their approach as a market catalyser. When introducing solar power to a market, they measure a 'tipping point' as defined by The Innovation Adoption Curve of Rogers as 13.5% technology adoption and once this is met they will exit the market to let local businesses thrive. This transition from market competitor to market catalyser has shown its effectiveness, and the use of solar power as an alternative to high CO2 emission light sources like kerosene lamps has continued to grow in those countries exited.
See what you could achieve with a donation of: £
How do we calculate this?

Who works here?

  • JOHN KEANE
    CEO
John has worked in the off-grid solar sector for many years and was SolarAid’s second employee, more than a decade ago. He first lived in rural Tanzania 17 years ago and learned first hand what it’s like to exist without access to basic forms of infrastructure, beyond the electricity grid. Since this time, he has devoted his professional career to changing the unacceptable reality, where over 1 billion people live without access to lighting ....more
  • KARLA KANYANGA
    Operations Director - SunnyMoney Zambia
    Appointed: 2009
Karla joined SunnyMoney in 2009 and over the years started and shaped the job of Business Support Coordinator and has been most recently promoted to the Operations Director and is now in charge of all aspects of running the SunnyMoney business in Zambia. She has past work experience in Zambia as a Health and Safety Manager of a Mining Company and as Manager of local lodge and conference center. After marrying a Zambian, Karla moved from the ....more
  • BRAVE MHONIE
    General Manager - Malawi
    Appointed: 2008
Brave is a social entrepreneur who started as field officer tasked with educating the community about importance of renewable energy as a mitigation measure of climate change at Solar Aid. He also worked on setting up the small scale local assembly of solar panels with wooden frames for community based solar projects. He has the passion to end poverty in Malawi through efficient investment in renewable energy, starting with solar technology. His ....more
  • STUART RYLAND
    Director of Finance and Resources
    Appointed: October 2022
Before Solar Aid, Stuart spent 8 years as Finance Director for Three C’s, a social care charity providing supported living services across London. Prior to that he spent a decade working for King’s College London, firstly as Finance Director at the Institute of Psychiatry, and later as Director of Finance and Administration for the School of Social Science and Public Policy, during which time he worked in Kenya helping with the set-up of the ....more
  • JAMIE MCCLOSKEY
    Director of Development
    Appointed: September 2014
Jamie joined SolarAid the same month SunnyMoney opened its office in Uganda, as a Proposal Writer and Researcher. He now leads the team in value generation, partnerships and programmatic design and management. Before SolarAid, he worked at the National AIDS Trust, a UK HIV policy organisation for two years and spent some time with VSO in Nigeria.
  • RICHARD TURNER
    Director of Fundraising
    Appointed: September 2021
Richard has over 30 years experience as a fundraiser at Oxfam, Farm-Africa, FFI and ActionAid UK, as well as delivering fundraising training for charities around the world to help deliver on their missions. He believes in ‘renewable fundraising,’ which offers people a great experience from supporting SolarAid and inspires them to tell others and to continue their support. It recognises that in this increasingly connected world anyone can act ....more

How is it governed?

Trustees (5)
Current Trustees appointed
Gender Split

Age Range of Trustees: 36-59
FD of Carbon Tracker
Legal constitution
  • Charitable company registered in England & Wales on 30/08/2006, number: 1115960
  • Registered at Companies House on 28/10/1999, number: 03867741
Gift Aid
  • Registered with HMRC for Gift Aid
Policies in force
  • Bullying and harassment policy and procedures
  • Complaints handling
  • Complaints policy and procedures
  • Conflicting interests
  • Financial reserves policy and procedures
  • Internal charity financial controls policy and procedures
  • Internal risk management policy and procedures
  • Investing charity funds policy and procedures
  • Paying staff
  • Risk management
  • Safeguarding policy and procedures
  • Safeguarding vulnerable beneficiaries
  • Serious incident reporting policy and procedures
  • Social media policy and procedures
  • Trustee conflicts of interest policy and procedures
  • Trustee expenses policy and procedures
  • Volunteer management
Filing Record
17 returns made; AR16: 2 days late, AR13: 2 days late, AR12: 2 days late,
Recent reorganisation events:
  • Asset transfer in from THE GRAVITYLIGHT FOUNDATION on 05/08/2022
Main office

Solaraid
Unit 1
Gnome House
7 Blackhorse Lane
LONDON
E17 6DS

Objectives

1) TO RELIEVE POVERTY THROUGH FACILITATING THE PROVISION OF SOLAR ENERGY TO THOSE IN NEED; 2) TO ADVANCE THE EDUCATION OF THE PUBLIC IN MATTERS RELATING TO SOLAR ENERGY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND TO CARRY OUT AND DISSEMINATE THE RESULTS OF RESEARCH INTO ALL ASPECTS OF ENERGY GENERATION, DISTRIBUTION, SUPPLY AND USE.

Defined Area of Benefit:

NOT DEFINED BY GI. IN PRACTICE, NATIONAL AND OVERSEAS.

Data Sources

Charity Commission for England and Wales
360 Giving
CharityBase

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