​​​​​​​Convocation Speaker: Alumni, Patrick Walsh

Patrick founded Greenlight Planet during his undergraduate studies in Economics and Physics at the University of Illinois.  While installing a mini-electrical grid in rural India (as part of the campus student organization Engineers Without Borders) Patrick saw that evolving technologies would make solar-powered lamps affordable enough to replace kerosene lamps, still used by two billion consumers around the world.  He designed Greenlight Planet's original Sun King solar lantern in 2006 and, along with his Illinois classmate Anish Thakkar, began building commercial distribution channels in India in 2009.  Sun King products today light the homes of more than 30 million people in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.  The company has expanded its product line to include plug-and-play “solar home systems” that provide a realistic alternative to the electrical grid, and innovative “pay as you go” financing options that make products affordable to un-banked consumers.  The products and company have received best-in-class recognition from technical evaluation programs of the World Bank and MIT, as well as awards from UNESCO, the Lemelson Foundation, the Economist, and Forbes.