TIME Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2019
Each year, TIME highlights the Best Inventions that are making the world a smarter and better place. TIME solicits nominations across a variety of categories from editors and correspondents around the world, and via an online application process. Each submission is evaluated based on key factors, including originality, creativity, influence, ambition and effectiveness.
Dutch automotive start-up Lightyear is setting new limits for clean mobility. Their revolutionary solar-powered electric car, Lightyear One, will soon give drivers unprecedented freedom, thanks to its incredible range of up to 725 km on a single charge. It’s nothing short of an engineering and design tour de force, with SunPower® Maxeon cells crafted seamlessly into the body of the car – a first for any passenger vehicle. We are honored to be named Lightyear’s strategic solar cell supplier and to be a supporter of their visionary spirit.
We Care Solar's portable Solar Suitcase is improving the safety of home birth in remote regions. In partnership with SunPower and Stiftung Solarenergie Philippines, We Share Solar deployed 60 Solar Suitcases assembled by California students to provide light and power for rural schools in the Philippines. SunPower sponsored the program and provided volunteer support to quality check equipment and prepare for the deployments. Stiftung worked with rural communities to select school sites, install the systems, and provide end-user training and follow-up.
We Share Solar is the STEM education program of We Care Solar, a non-profit organization dedicated to energy access for healthcare and education based in Berkeley, California.
Video credit: Ninja Dog Studios www.wesharesolar.org
The YOLK Solar Cow adds the TIME award to other innovation awards. The South Korean startup is helping to improve access to electricity and education in developing nations, specifically addressing the 20% of children in Africa who miss school due to child labor. Each solar cow – basically a large solar power source in the form of a cow - lives outside a school. When the schoolchildren arrive in the morning, they plug their own portable ‘Power Milk’ batteries into the cow to charge. A 100W flexible SunPower panel charges the batteries during school, and the children then return the batteries home, fully charged. Families can save up to 20% of the income formally dedicated to the phone. More importantly, the solar cow can avoid the fumes of diesel-powered charging kiosks – and the free electricity gives families a near-term financial incentive to send their kids to school.