Interview with the Co-founder of MPOWERD Inc., Creators of Luci Solar Lights

Epic Road Luci Solar Light Drop in Namibia

This week, we spoke with John Salzinger, the Senior Director of Business Development and Co-founder of MPOWERD Inc, the creators of LUCI solar lights. He tells Epic Road's blog readers about the inspiration behind Luci, the mission, future plans and how to get involved.

Where did the inspiration come from for MPOWERD and Luci solar portable lights?

MPOWERD’s CEO and Co-founder, Jacques-Philippe Piverger, was exploring the renewable energy sector as a means of combining his business and development oriented interests.  Accordingly, he assembled a team of partners to help actualize his vision. On a trip we took together to post-earthquake Haiti, the benefits of such technology really hit home for the team as we were able to see first-hand how the reliance on fuel-based light and power sources negatively impact health, safety, gender disparity, the environment and economic prosperity. Coming from the United States, where rural areas have benefited both socially and economically from electrification for more than 100 years, we felt the issue of energy poverty was unacceptable and decided to do something about it.

What is MPOWERD's mission?

As a B-Corp. we aim to do good by doing well. Our vision it to help eradicate energy poverty through solar justice. We develop, manufacture and sell innovative and affordable solar powered products like our inflatable Luci light in order to achieve this vision. We sell directly to individuals and to major retailers, and we partner with organizations like Epic Road and NGOs to set up micro-distribution channels in developing communities in order to get our technology into the hands of those who need it most in the final mile. We believe that our forward thinking business model is good for business and for society at large.

What makes Luci so revolutionary and disruptive?

Its utility and its light environmental footprint. Luci is waterproof, inflatable and collapsible, portable, durable and green. She replaces such harmful traditional light sources as kerosene, which is expensive, heavy to transport, unsustainable and dangerous.

Can you provide our readers with an example of successful deployments of Luci Lights in places with energy poverty?

Epic Road has done a great job of incorporating Luci into some of their transformational trips and having guests introduce her to people in remote developing communities through their “Luci Drops”. This inspiring video shows what the reaction is like when she is introduced to a member of the Himba Tribe in Namib Desert, Namibia.  

We also partner with NGOs through our Give Luci Program which allows people to purchase Luci at a discount and give her to one of our several partners for distribution in communities where she is needed most. For example, Jamie Bechtel, Founder of New Course, one of our partners, has distributed lights in various areas in Africa and most recently in Bongandanga, a village in the middle of the Congo where the head of a women's group was very happy to receive the MPOWERD solar powered lamp. According to Jamie, the woman said: "It will help my children with homework, it will help when doing housework and other work at night, and of course it will save us a lot of money."

As well, through some of our more traditional distribution methods, we have been able to have a very positive impact in such places as Nigeria, Kenya, Haiti, The Philippines, Haiti, Congo and Tanzania, to name a few.

What new products or ideas does MPOWERD have for the future?

We are working on building additional smart, green and cost-efficient products that introduce new utility. MPOWERD’s entire product line will be solar in nature but will encompass much more than simply illumination.

For those clients who have come back from a Luci Light drop with Epic Road, what are some other ways they can get involved?

We would love for them to contact us so that we can explore ways to work together. For example, by participating in our Give Luci Program or by working with us to develop a meaningful, high impact corporate social responsibility program for their organization. The issue of energy poverty is huge so the more people we can engage in the movement, the better for our environment and society at large. To learn more, we encourage people to follow MPOWERD on social media or email us at

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