About Isang Litrong Liwanag (1 Liter of Light) Project


Isang Litrong Liwanag (1 Liter of Light), is a sustainable lighting project which aims to bring the eco-friendly solar bottle bulb to low-income communities nationwide. Designed and developed by students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Solar Bottle Light is a device based on the principles of Appropriate Technologies – a concept that provides simple and easily replicable technologies that address basic needs in developing communities.



There is a continuous problem of access to light and legal electricity by a number of homes throughout the country, whether they are located in urban or rural areas. Small, crowded communities (shanty areas) are often covered in darkness even during the day because of the lack of ambient light. Using the electricity for 24 hours a day raises the households expenses by around 40%. For these households, this percentage makes a significant difference to their expenses where their income ranges from minimum wage to less than a dollar a day.[1] While opting for candles as their light source saves them from the unnecessary expense, it also endangers them and creates a fire hazard for the entire community. Latest statistics (2005) show that out of 10,728 fire incidences in the country, 5,105 of them were caused either by an open flame or through problematic electrical connections. [2]


Through the Isang Litrong Liwanag and the JCI, the partnership proposes an alternative to household dependence on electricity and open flame. By using the natural source of light – the sun; a household can save on its expenses, reduce risk and maximize its potential during the day. By having the contraption installed in their homes, housewives will be able to work on their domestic chores; children will be able to study under better light; and households and small-scale businesses can save on their monthly expenses.



Isang Litrong Liwanag has a vision of lighting a million homes by 2012. The project began with lighting 10,000 solar lights in the City of San Pedro, Laguna with partner Vice Mayor Norvic Solidum lighting 5,000, and the City of Manila, with partnership with Mayor Alfredo Lim with the balance of 5,000 solar lights. Working with the Philippine Jaycees, the goal is to spread the technology to cities and communities up north.


Apart from the actual numbers this project also aims to empower individual citizens to take a step towards using sustainable energy, whether by the use of the solar bottle light, through volunteering in the project implementation, or being inspired to come up with their own ideas.



The solar bottle light is a contraption made from recyclable PET bottles, CG corrugated sheets and a solution of water, chlorine and salt. Please refer to Appendix 1 for a step-by-step instruction of the device. By using these readily available materials, the project is empowering the population to be able to utilize a cheap and long-term alternative to electric light.

Based on a previous test sites the project produces an almost viral effect by having people clamoring for the technology and reproducing it themselves. More than this, an initial installation in a specific community will then produce enough attention for local government units to act on the demand and thus assist in expanding the production of the solar bottle bulb to a bigger population whether within the community or to the next one.



[1] 32.9% of the population lives below the poverty line (2006 est).

CIA World Factbook, “East & Southeast Asia: Philippines” 2010, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/rp.html

[2] National Statistical Coordination Board, “An Average of 26 Fires Per Day Hit the Country in the Past Five Years” 31 March 2006,http://www.nscb.gov.ph/factsheet/pdf06/fs3_06.asp