Solar Safe Water initiative support people in need with hot and safe drinking water in offgrid areas in the province of Tharaka-Nithi in Kenya. We uses the award-winning innovation “Solvatten” to heat and disinfect the water, a portable water treatment solution that uses nothing but solar energy to reach the highest level of WHO’s standard for safe drinking water.



More than one billion people in the world live without access to safe drinking water and electricity. This has a negative impact on health, education, equality, welfare and the environment. Safe drinking water improves living conditions and enables a way out of poverty.

In Kenya, almost 19 million people live without access to safe water at home and only 27% of the population have access to the electrical grid. This means that the majority of the population is dependent on firewood, charcoal and fossil fuels to boil water for drinking, hygiene and cooking. This is both time-consuming and expensive for families living on scarce resources, and in addition it raises greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation.

To reduce emissions and strengthen local resilience while improving families’ health and socio-economic conditions, Solvatten started the climate project in Tharaka-Nithi County, Kenya, in 2017. So far more than 40,000 people been supported with Solvatten heaters by different humanitarian organizations. And this project has become a sunshine story. Rotary, through ESRAG and WASH was invited by Solvatten Foundation to join the ongoing project in Kenya in August 2021, and today Rotary´s impact is impressing.

Solvatten heaters sanitise water from bacteria, viruses and parasites by using solar energy and are an award-winning innovation promoted by UN, WHO and WWF. At the same time, you contribute with an amazing impact on sustainable development in line with UN’s 17 goals inAgenda 2030 and Rotary’s all 7 area of focus. One Solvatten heater supports one family with hot and safe drinking water 7-10 years (lifetime). In addition, it cuts the family’s carbon emissions, saves trees from being cut down and the family benefits in health, equality and welfare. Today Solvatten heaters are used by more than 500,000 people in over 20 countries. We are proud supporters to Solvatten’s changemaking  CLIMATE PROJECT in Kenya.


Winner of UNFCCC's Momentum for Change

Solvatten is a Winner of UNFCCC’s Momentum for Change – Light House Award. It has being highlighted that Solvatten contributes to UN SDG’s since it is opening new ways for energy efficiency and contributes clean water to the people most eposed to climate change. It is about eradicating poverty, protecting our land and ensuring prosperity and a sustainble future for all.

“Solvatten is one of the brightest examples of Climate solutions that are making a real difference”

Chiristiana Figueres, Former UNFCCC Executive Director

Technical information and evidence

Solvatten® is an award-winning Swedish innovation that disinfect water by using solar energy. It opens like a book, and after a few hours in the sun the water is hot and free from waterborne bacteria. It is the combination of UV (UVA and UVB) radiation and heating, (up to 75°C, 167°F), that ensure the high level of security of the water. It meets WHO’s highest demand on drinking water and are more efficient than chlorine to eliminate highly resistent bacteria, viruses and parasites.

The heater is made of high quality inert plastic, high UV and heat resistant, and is recyclable. It is FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) approved and follow all restrictions for having contact with water and food. The Solvatten heater is produced using no additives (as for example Antimony, Bisphenol A, Bisphenol-S or heavy metals etc.), or any other raw material that is not approved to be used for food. Studies has shown that no chemicals are released to the water. It can be heated to 116 degrees Celsius without being deformed. The heater is recyclable.

Each device has an ID number that is registered on the user. In addition, a smart data collection tool is used to closely monitor how the units are distributed and used, and also to send data for follow-up. This gives us data to calculate the impact of Rotary’s donations.

The Solvatten heater is produced by a Swedish company, a well-established and reputable company, active since 1947. They are certified according to ISO 9001 (quality) and ISO 14001 (environment). They also have an ambitious environmental sustainability plan, with goals from a wide perspective of climate, pollution, renewables, circularity, transportation etc.

This makes Solvatten a perfect solution for people in need of safe drinking water and hygiene. And in addition, we gain reduced deforestation, biodiversity, climate change, equity, health and wealth. Solvatten is a unique innovation supporting all Rotary’s AoF. If you have more questions, go to Solvattens FAQ.

What level of contamination can be treated?

The amount of E-coli bacteria in a water sample gives an indication of its biological quality. The presence of E-coli indicates fecal contamination by people or other warm-blooded animals, and the presence of other, possible more dangerous, pathogenic organisms. To give an indication of scale and what is considered to be  safe contact level, the higher standard for bathing waters in the EU is less than 100 E-coli colonies/100ml, and the WHO standard for safe drinking water is less than 1 colony/100ml – after treatment, the tests showed that the treated water met the WHO’s sage drinking water standards of less than 1 colony/100ml. Furthermore, Solvatten belongs to an exceptionally small group of water treatment systems that can test highly-resistant forms of bacteria, viruses and parasites. USEPA certified tests conducted in California in 2014 showed that water treated by Solvatten reached the ‘Highly protective’ category, eliminating parasites, virus and E-coli. By comparison, chlorine and most filters are not able to achieve this level of protection.

Solvatten Foundation

Solvatten Foundation is a non-profit fundraising organization that started in 2013. The foundation enables the public, organizations, companies and other foundations to donate funds to “Solar Safe Water projects” which aim to provide people in developing countries with hot and safe water. Today, Solvatten heaters are used in over 40 countries around the world and improve life for over than 600.000 persons.

You can find a copy of Solvatten’s registration as a certified foundation here.

Solvatten Foundation is also registred at Svensk Insamlingskontroll (Swedish fundraising control) “90 account” which is an independent non-profit organization that works in the donor’s interest to check that collected funds are used for the right purpose. They ensure through annual control and review that whoever contributes money to a fundraising organization with a 90 account gets access to reliable information about how the money is used.

Solvatten’s projects in Kenya are now Gold Standard Certified for carbon compensation.



What does Solvatten’s organization look like?

Solvatten Foundation in Sweden and Solvatten Foundation in US are non-profit organizations. They buy the heaters from the limited company Solvatten AB, and the profit goes back to the foundations. N.B. The Solvatten AB does not have any profit from the foundations projects.

Solvatten Charitable Foundation focuses strictly on humanitarian projects that deliver practical solutions for people living off-grid without access to clean water. The Foundation conducts fundraising and administers the donations received for Solvatten Safe Water Campains. It is regulated by the Swedish County Administrative Board, which ensures the highest possible return of generosity, cost discipline and accountability.

The Solvatten Charitable Foundation USA administrates donations made in the US and is a registered 501 © (3) organisation. That Foundation are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

 CEO Petra Wadström, the inventor of Solvatten, is responsible for producing the Solvatten heather and the costumers are governments, companies, organizations, UN, PLAN International Canada along with individuals. Since 2010 Solvatten heathers have reached more than 450,000 people through various programs and partnerships in over 20 countries, mainly in Kenya, Zambia and Uganda.

What is the size of a Solvatten heater?

The dimentions are 36 x 47 x 13 cm (14 x 18.5 x 5 inches). It weighs 2,7 kg (6 lbs) unfilled and can hold 10 litres of water. The plastic material used to make Solvatten heathers are fully approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) and is fully recyclable.

How does the water treatment work?

Solvatten heater belongs to an exceptionally small group of water treatment systems than can treat highly resistant forms of bacteria, viruses and parasites by using 3 established methods;

Filtration: Water is poured in trough a hole housing a fabric filter that catches larger particles.

Heat pasteurization: Heat from the sun warms up the water, killing pathogenic material.

UV-disinfection: The high energy associated with UV sunlight causes damage to the DNA of micro-organisms, rendering them unable to reproduce or infect.

The amount of E-coli bacteria in a water sample gives an indication of its biological quality. WHO standard for safe drinking water is less than 1 colony/100 ml. Solvatten heather has been tested, using samples containing more than 200,000 colonies/100 ml, and after treatment in a Solvatten heater the water met the WHO safe drinking water standard by less than 1 colony/100 ml.

USEPA* certified tests conducted 2014 in California showed that water treated by Solvatten heaters reached the “Highly protective” category, eliminating parasites, virus and E-coli. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

How long does it take before I drink the water?

Depending on sun conditions, the water will be free of pathogenic material in 2-6 hours.

Solvatten make the water safe and free from microorganisms when it warm, up to 75C/167F. A sunny day, it can be used four times, cleaning 40 litres. Solvatten works on partly cloudy days, but not during rain or heavy cloudy sky.

    How do I know if my contribution goes to families in need?

    It is easy to see and follow a Solvatten projects. To ensure an accurately tracking the actual environmental impact Solvatten has on the climate project, they use a number of tools and methodologies including:

    • A unique ID number on each Solvatten heater
    • Digital user registration and apps for offline data collection in the field
    • Data collection on usage
    • 3rd-party verification on energy savings and reduced CO2 emissions

     There is a strong evidence that water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions are highly cost-effective compared to other health interventions, using standardized measures of US dollar per DALY averted (one lost year of “healthy” life). See DFID Study.

    To implement and collect quality data from the field, our partners work in close partnership with local governments, community health volunteers, local health clinics and village leaders.

    You will receive ongoing information regarding the use of the Solvatten heather and how it develops over time. Every Solvatten heather have a unique serial number printed, and are traceable by a public register that also contains associated project information.

    Report and feedback from the user family usually take place approx. after six month use, followed by a more comprehensive report after 12 months. Data is collected on an ongoing basis, to help the understanding of the proceeding and make recommendations for improvements if needed. Once a year Solvatten report measured CO2 savings and improvements in families health and finances. The results from the report are summerized in a Solvatten Certificate. In addition to these project reports, third part auditors such as TÜV NORD or similar verification companies will do a follow up every second year.

    What about footprint and certification standard regarding Solvatten?

    Solvatten contributes all 7 of Rotary areas of Focus, and contributes to achieving each of UN AGENDA 2030s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), seven of them are directly impacted by Solvatten.

    The climate benefits from Solvatten projects are verified and can be used in a company´s sustainability report or for private use. Many of our partners use Solvatten as a means to reduce their carbon print, develop a corporate responsibility program or safeguard the health of their employees working in developing countries.

    You can compensate carbon emissions with Solvatten climate projects by helping to reduce the need for vulnerable families without electricity and running water, and help them avoid using wood and coal. Using the sun energy to provide clean and warm water improves life for humans, the environment and the climate.

    Continuous reporting on the use of Solvatten heaters has been carried out since 2009, covering household reduction of wood and coal consumtion. The results clearly show that families reduce (halve) their use of coal and wood. The calculations refer to the Gold Standard methodology “Technologies and Practices to Displace Decentralized Thermal Energy Consumption”. The emission reduction factor used for wood is 1.8 tCO2/tonne biomass and 3.67 tCO2/tonne charcoal, as determined by the UNs IPCC 2006 climate panel. Projects must be verifiable by a reviewing third part who can verify the alleged reduction.

    Sustainability/permanence: Climate compensation must provide a lasting climate benefit, which means emissions are not just delayed.

    Transparency of results to add value, especially to partners and clients that purchase Solvatten heathers to compensate carbon emissions, is important. Every euro/dollar invested in a Solvatten Climate Project will be used for cost-effective and practical climate action.

    Solvatten is used in both Gold Standard projects that have been UN-registered and project with third-part evaluation through TÜV NORD. Solvatten has recently received a Gold Standard certification for all Kenya-projects (Jan 2024).


    “Solvatten is one of the brightest examples of Climate solutions that are making a real difference”

    Christiana Figueres, Former UNFCCC Executive Director


    How it works

    One Solvatten heater supports one family with hot and safe water or 7 years.

    More details about the Tharaka-Nithi project in Kenya

     Read more about the project in the brochure “Everything starts with safe water”.


    “By ensuring access to safe and heated water the [Solvatten] technology has increased the urban poor’s resilience to the effects of climate change, such as droughts and floods, and reduced their vulnerability to water-borne diseases.”

    United Nations Climate Change secretariat, UNFCCC