Sun King by Greenlight Planet is a for-profit social business that designs, distributes, and finances solar home energy with an under-served population in mind: the 1.3 billion global consumers for whom the old-fashioned electrical grid is unavailable or too expensive. Since its founding in 2009, the company has become a leading global provider of solar-energy products to over 27 million rural consumers in more than 60 countries.
From its wide range of trusted Sun King™ solar lamps and home energy systems, to its innovative distribution partnerships, to its flexible EasyBuy™ pay-as-you-go financing model, Greenlight Planet continuously strives to meet the evolving needs of the off-grid market.
A truly global enterprise, Greenlight Planet has 11 offices in countries throughout Africa and India, and over 800 employees around the world. Its team of more than 2,400 sales agents keeps the company directly in touch with rural consumers’ needs. But Greenlight works with a vast international network of distribution partners, from large micro-finance institutions to local micro-entrepreneurs, expanding the reach of solar energy products. With over ten years of experience, Greenlight Planet is determined to continue setting the gold standard for performance and design, while powering human potential.
Greenlight Planet has Sun King retail locations around Kenya, including Nairobi, Kakamega and even Kakuma, as well as around the world.
Greenlight Planet was founded by T. Patrick Walsh, a University of Illinois student who spent part of 2005 working with the charity Engineers Without Borders in rural India. He realized that villagers there, users of ubiquitous kerosene lamps, were not asking for charity. Rather, they were savvy consumers demanding a better product to light their homes. With classmates from school, Patrick designed and sold Greenlight’s first solar-lantern prototypes in 2006 in the state of Orissa: brighter and healthier than kerosene lamps, but affordable enough so that people could afford them without subsidies. In 2007, co-founders Mayank Sekhsaria and Anish Thakkar joined the fledgling company. The founders moved to India and China in 2008, with the vision that smart design, efficient engineering and innovative distribution strategies could make dirty kerosene lanterns a thing of the past.
Over a decade, the company has grown steadily, expanding distribution across South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, and establishing financing programs to make solar energy affordable: not only over the long term, but immediately, even for consumers with limited savings.
As solar technology and battery technology became more efficient over the years, Greenlight Planet began setting its sights higher, beyond simply replacing kerosene lamps: The company’s solar home systems now reduce demand for grid electricity, powering not only lights, but a range of home appliances including mobile phones, televisions, fans, and more.