65 Million in Africa Could Access Solar Lighting by 2015, a New Report Says
November 23 2010

About 65 million people in Africa will gain access to safe and clean lighting using solar by 2015, says a newly published report. The increase in the use of solar portable lights will make Africa the world’s largest market for this kind of lighting says the report - Solar Lighting for the Base of the Pyramid – Overview of an Emerging Marketthat Lighting Africa.


By converting from kerosene to clean energy, millions of consumers will improve their health, reduce their spending on expensive fuels, and, ultimately, benefit from better illumination and more productive time in their homes, schools and businesses, adds the report,  jointly published by  the International Finance Corporation-IFC and  the World Bank Lighting Africa Program,  The Lighting Africa program seeks to accelerate the development of commercial off-grid lighting markets in Sub-Saharan Africa to improve access to energy. The program is implemented in partnership with several agencies including the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program-ESMAP.


Furthermore, the new report provides a snapshot and projects trends in the solar portable lighting market in Africa, where millions still rely on expensive, often ineffective, and sometimes dangerous fuel-based lighting, such as kerosene lamps. To this end, technological advances, innovative products and business models have vastly improved the quality of solar portable lights over the past five years, making them more affordable to low-income buyers and better suited to consumer needs.


The market potential in Africa for solar portable lights is enormous and ripe for investment, the report reveals. The findings indicate a 40 to 50 percent compounded annual growth rate in sales volume – or a total of 13 million solar portable lights – by 2015. Current market penetration is only at 0.5 percent of the under-electrified African population.


Arthur Itotia Njagi,Lighting Africa’s Program Manager, said,“We have developed tools to test the quality of solar portable lights, get more quality and affordable lights on the market, and counter market spoilage by inferior products. This will accelerate access to better lighting for low-income households.”


Lighting Africa is helping build a market to bring off-grid lighting to millions of people across Africa by investing in consumer education, tackling access to finance bottlenecks, creating a favourable investment climate, exploring innovative business distribution models, and establishing quality standards.


The Lighting Africa report gathered input from a broad range of industry experts, manufacturers, distributors and civil society organizations in over ten African markets. It will become a bi-yearly publication.


To download the report or order a hard copy, click here.


Lighting Africa Partnerships

Lighting Africa is implemented in partnership with the Africa Renewable Energy and Access Grants Program (AFREA), the Asia Sustainable and Alternative Energy Program (ASTAE), the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Good Energies Inc., Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF), the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) and the United States.