It was designer Nicolas Cortolezzis at IKEA who combined LED low-energy technology with solar cells in the SUNNAN desk lamp – a particularly robust solar-powered lamp that was developed to work in countries where many families, and even schools, have no electricity. SUNNAN was designed to be a bit more hardwearing, and had a battery that could withstand moisture and high temperatures. If the lamp was charged in the sun for 9–12 hours, it would give four hours of full-strength light.
In June 2009, IKEA Social Initiative started a campaign based on the SUNNAN lamp along with UNICEF and Save the Children. For every SUNNAN sold at IKEA, one lamp was donated to children in India and Pakistan who had no electricity at home. That way the children could play, read and do their homework also after sunset.
In August 2010, more than half a million children had received a SUNNAN desk lamp. A year later Marianne Barner, head of IKEA Social Initiative at the time, talked about the need that SUNNAN met: “Girls are particularly affected as they have to help around the home after school, and the evening is their only chance to do their homework. SUNNAN can mean a lot for them. If they can do their homework, their school attendance will probably increase and their grades will also improve.”