Apply for Lighting Global Testing of Your Solar Home System Kit

As we hope you have heard, Lighting Global and the regional programs (Lighting Africa, Lighting Asia and Lighting Pacific) are now extending support to “plug-and-play” direct current (DC) solar home system kits.

As of today, we are now accepting new products for testing. Though we are actively working to expand testing capacity, for the first several months, we will only be able to test a limited number of products.

To apply for testing, please complete this application form. Products will be accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis, with priority given to those products that can be sampled and shipped so that they arrive at one of the two test labs in January. Once our available testing capacity has been allocated, products will be placed in a queue, and companies will be notified when a testing opportunity is available. Products that cannot be sampled and shipped on the specified timeline will also be placed in the queue.

To be eligible for testing, the product mustmeet the eligibility requirements as outlined in the Quality Standards for SHS Kits. These requirements include that the kit must be “plug-and-play,” have a peak power of 100 W or less, and a DC voltage of 24 V or less. Further, products must be from a full-production run in which sampling agents can select 16 samples from a stock of at least 200 units. For the first few months, until additional labs are trained, samples will need to be shipped to one of two labs in either Germany or the U.S.

The cost of testing is dependent on the test lab and the complexity of the product, though fees in the range of US$ 10,000 can be expected. Testing of most products is expected to take four months, while very complex products, such as those that include multiple appliances, light points or batteries, may take longer.

Upon testing a product, companies can expect services similar to those we offer pico-products:

  • All tested products will receive full test results and a letter explaining the results.
  • Products that meet the Lighting Global Quality Standards for Solar Home System kits will receive a Standardized Specification Sheet and Verification Letter that will be posted on the Lighting Global website.
  • For eligible companies, additional business support through Lighting Global will be offered. Business support offerings through the regional programs may also be available to companies that become Associates of those programs.

If your product is selected for testing, we will contact you to request additional details and to sign a testing agreement. We will then send sampling agents to select up to 16 units of your product according to the agreed upon timeline. A stock of at least 200 units will need to be available for sampling. Your company will be responsible for providing these units and shipping them to one of our two designated test labs for this project (one lab is in Germany and the other is in the U.S.). Because initial testing capacity is limited, if a company is unable to complete these actions on the agreed-upon timeline, their testing opportunity may be offered to a different product/company.

Please contact us at shs@lightingglobal.org if you have questions or comments related to this testing opportunity.

 

Lighting Global Extends Support to Solar Home System Kits

In light of the growing market demand, Lighting Global and the regional World Bank Group Lighting programs, Lighting Africa, Lighting Asia and Lighting Pacific, are now extending quality assurance testing and program support from pico-solar products to solar home system kits with power ranging up to 100 Watts.

First five solar home system kits to meet the Lighting Global Quality Standards for SHS kits.

First five solar home system kits to meet the Lighting Global Quality Standards for SHS kits.

Since 2009, the programs have provided quality verification and support for small solar lanterns and solar lighting systems with power up to 10 Watts. To date, over 12 million of these quality verified products have been sold providing over 25 million people with the basic energy services of clean lighting and mobile phone charging, which constitutes the “Tier 1” level of energy access as defined by the UN Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Global Tracking Framework. The move to cover larger solar home system kits will now support the growing market for additional appliances, such as fans, radios, and TVs.

Significant gains in the efficiency of PV modules, LEDs, batteries, and DC appliances, along with the advent of pay-as-you-go (PAYG) technology, are now making these aspirational energy services equivalent to “Tier 2” energy access affordable for many households and small businesses who live without reliable electricity. While some of the most popular pico-solar lanterns sell for less than US$10, these larger solar home system kits range in price from approximately US$200 to over US$1000. Despite the higher price, demand for these larger kits and the expanded energy services they provide is growing. PAYG technology enables consumers to pay for a product in small increments over time, effectively reducing the up-front cost of the system and better matching the needs of a household budget.

Along with the growing market for solar home system kits comes the need for quality verification to ensure that products on the market meet consumer expectations, and minimize investment risk.

To meet these needs, the Lighting Global team, including researchers from the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State University and Fraunhofer ISE, developed a set of test methods and quality standards to assess the quality and durability of these larger solar home system kits. The test methods cover solar home systems that are sold and installed as plug-and-play kits. These kits can be installed by consumers without professional expertise, though many companies choose to provide installation and training services to enhance their product offering.

The test methods are similar to those used for pico-solar products, but include some modifications, such as an assessment of USB and 12 V ports, as well as basic appliance tests. The World Bank and Global LEAP provided funding for the development of the test methods and initial pilot testing of 10 products.

The pilot testing program is nearly finished and several products have already met the Quality Standards, including the Fosera LSHS 9800, Mobisol Family SHS – 19” TV, Omnivoltaic OvCamp HS1-144_LB2244, SolarWorks! Solar Home System, and Zimpertec Litio LS 7000-K001. The program expects several more systems to be supported in the next few months. Just as with pico-solar products, solar home system kits that meet the Quality Standards receive a Lighting Global Specifications Sheet, Verification Letter and are posted on the Lighting Global website.

In November, following the pilot test program and revision of the test methods based on stakeholder feedback, the Lighting Global team will be ready to accept new products for testing. To inquire about testing, contact shs@lightingglobal.org. Tests are expected to take approximately four months. Costs will vary dependent on the test laboratory and product complexity.

In addition to quality assurance support, Lighting Global and the regional lighting programs plan to provide additional services similar to those already offered to manufacturers and distributors of pico-solar products. The programs will work with companies to tailor offerings for consumer awareness campaigns, business development support, and access to finance, all with the goal of increasing access to clean, reliable electricity.

Lighting Africa – Ethiopia launches Consumer Education Campaign targeting over 12 million Ethiopians

Backdrop_BannerIn Addis Ababa
Name: Alasdair Miller
Phone: +251 11 517 6073
E-mail: amiller5@ifc.org

Lighting Africa – Ethiopia launches Consumer Education Campaign targeting over 12 million Ethiopians

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, September 22, 2015 – Lighting Africa – Ethiopia, a World Bank Group program aimed at accelerating the development of the market for off-grid solar lighting products in Ethiopia, today launched a Consumer Education Campaign in Ethiopia highlighting the benefits provided by modern, quality off-grid lighting, and assisting them in making informed purchasing decisions.

The program addresses the lighting needs of rural, urban, and suburban consumers without electricity access—predominantly low-income households and businesses. It seeks to offer an alternative to fuel-based kerosene lamps and candles, which are currently the most commonly used lighting sources among those without grid electricity.

Access to modern energy provides productive capacity for stimulating economic development and reduces conditions for poverty while improving health, air quality, productivity comfort, education and hardships imposed on women and children” said H.E Ato Alemayehu Tegenu, Minister, Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy while officiating the launch.

Lighting Africa Ethiopia is a key component of the Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Project (SREP) developed in conjunction with the government of Ethiopia through the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy and other partners. The program is working together with the government through a variety of channels including a $20 million Development Bank of Ethiopia credit line to promote sustainable access to clean energy which together with other services, is vital for poverty eradication.

The campaign is expected to run over a two year period, reaching over 12 million Ethiopians predominantly in rural areas. It will include a broad range of marketing and public awareness activities including mass media and door-to-door campaigns, tailored to address the specific needs of low income households across the country.

Pilot Project Confirms Benefits of Solar Lanterns to Maternal Care in Nigeria

sl-nigeriaAn estimated 36,000 women in Nigeria die each year during pregnancy or childbirth – equal to about 13% of maternal deaths worldwide. Numerous factors contribute to these tragic numbers, while potentially life-saving medical care is often hampered by the lack of adequate lighting after dark that plagues many rural health care centers.

Without access to grid electricity, or faced with frequent outages, midwives in these centers must use whatever light source is available to them, including candles, flashlights and kerosene lanterns to light their way through childbirth, suturing, and other minor surgical procedures after dark.

To address this major challenge, a pilot project implemented by Lighting Africa under the Nigerian State Health Investment Project delivered quality-verified solar lighting products to 36 Primary Healthcare Centers (PHCs) across three states in Nigeria. The pilot confirmed its premise that quality off-grid lighting products can serve to improve the delivery of health care services, while also raising awareness among users of solar lanterns as a durable and reliable lighting option.

Each of the 36 participating PHCs, located in the sates of Adamawa, Nasarawa, and Ondo were supplied with one Solar Home System (SHS) and two portable solar lanterns meeting Lighting Global Quality Standards, and trained on their usage. All respondents reported that the off-grid products improved the ability of the midwives to care for their patients after dark. They found that the lighting was both bright and durable enough to serve their needs throughout a night’s work. The midwives also noted that the ability to charge mobile phones was very valuable as it enabled communication between staff and patients, further enhancing their ability to care for their patients.

By experiencing the benefits of these products first hand, the project also stimulated demand for these products, as approximately 100 units were sold to heath care staff in the first 6 weeks of the project, and TOTAL stations in the participating States reported an increase in demand for quality-verified products following the pilot.

If you are interested in learning more about this project, you can read the pilot study report here: Pilot Intervention in Nigeria – Health Sector.

If you are interested in incorporating off-grid lighting into your health care delivery project, please contact us at info@lightingafrica.org for more information.

Mobile Money Catalyzes Clean Energy Uptake among Off-Grid Consumers, Study

mobile-money-storyMobile money is dramatically accelerating uptake of clean energy solutions among cash-strained off-grid consumers in developing countries, according to a new study by the IFC/World Bank Lighting Global program.

By providing financing and increasing connectivity throughout the supply chain, mobile money has led to the birth of pay-as-you-go (PAYG) business models that are enabling off-grid consumers take up modern energy solutions, notably solar lighting products, with greater ease.

One PAYG provider involved with the study reported a doubling to tripling of sales of solar lighting products sold through PAYG, compared to outright cash sales.

“It is an exciting time in the market!” says Peter Alstone, lead author of the study. “PAYG offers customers financing that they need to purchase solar, and also builds trust, overcoming two key barriers to energy access.”

The study, Off-Grid Power and Connectivity; Pay-As-You-Go Financing and Digital Supply Chains for Pico-Solar, was undertaken in 2014 with a focus in Kenya, also the pilot country for the acclaimed IFC/World Bank Lighting Africa program, now operational in over 10 countries.

The in-depth analysis found that about15% of customers in one PAYG model paid for their purchase in full in less than 30 days, versus the available 70 loan days, strengthening the assertion that some buyers were using PAYG to overcome product trust barriers,over and above the finance barrier.

The study established that mobile connectivity can burgeon successful delivery of good quality and trusted off-grid energy systems to retail markets.

The market for PAYG solar is fast growing, now present in more than 30 countries. It constitutes a wide range of approaches to payments, and business models. Some business models are DESCOs – distributed energy service companies, which provide access to energy services in exchange for ongoing payments. Others are better described as asset finance or micro-loan providers, who transfer ownership of the energy asset (solar lantern) to the buyer upon completion of payments over limited periods of time.

Connectivity also varies significantly including systems with embedded GSM (mobile phone machine-to-machine transfer) modules and mobile money payment systems as well as those which use top-up scratch cards and remote keypads. GSM technology allows PAYG providers to monitor and respond to changes in system performance, improving service reliability and durability of energy access.

“PAYG solar doesn’t just help to boost uptake; it also allows many providers to have more direct interactions with customers, providing an ongoing channel for after sales service, payment reminders, and other information via SMS,” the study notes.

Investment in the PAYG sector is however currently insufficient to fulfill capital needs for providers. Although more than $70m of equity and debt investment in PAYG firms has been publicly announced, the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) estimates a sector-wide need of over $1.5b to support consumer finance over the next two years.

4th International Off-Grid Lighting Conference & Exhibition, 26 / Oct / 2015

off-grid-storyThe 4th International Off-Grid Lighting Conference and Exhibition is the premier event for the rapidly growing off-grid solar lighting and services industry. This year it will be co-organized by the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) and the World Bank Group, in Dubai, UAE, on October 26-29, 2015. The event is expected to attract more than 600 key players from the industry in this fourth edition.

Since the first conference took place in Accra, Ghana in 2008, this biennial event has grown exponentially, alongside the industry it supports. It is the only global event of its kind, bringing together lighting and solar kit manufacturers, component suppliers, importers, distributors, retailers, government representatives, donors, financiers, non-governmental organizations, and academics in a focused discussion about the state and future directions of the off-grid solar lighting and services market. Participants will engage in one-of-a-kind discussions and events, share their experiences in the market, explore new technologies, products and market trends and jointly shape the agenda of the industry by identifying how it can reach its full potential in a sustainable way. The event has also proven to be a catalyst for new partnerships and business ventures.

This year, the conference will also feature the release of the 4th Market Trends Report, the definitive biannual report tracking the progress and the trends of the global industry. The report will be jointly issued by Lighting Global, which is the World Bank Group’s platform supporting the sustainable growth of the international off-grid lighting market, and GOGLA, the global industry’s representative trade association.

Find out more at www.conference 2015.gogla.org.

Six new solar products meet Lighting Global Standards

Six new solar lighting products have met the Lighting Global Quality Standards in the past month bringing more choice to consumers not connected to the electric grid. The new products are as follows:

anjidasol

SSL 200

sunking-pro-allnight

Sun King™ Pro All Night

The SSL 200 from solar lighting company DASOL, comes with four levels of lighting, the brightest of which provides about three hours of lighting after a full day of charging in the sun. The product can also charge mobile phones.

The Sun King™ Pro All Night from Greenlight Planet which comes with two light settings; the brighter setting provides lighting for about seven hours after a full day of charging in the sun. This product has dual USB ports enabling the user to charge a phone while simultaneously powering an additional appliance, or a second phone.

nl3-1000

NL3-1000

nl3-800

NL3-800

Two products from Nuru Energy, the NL3-800 and NL3-1000; The NL3-800 comes with two light settings of which the bright setting can provide about 4.6 hours of lighting after charging. This product can be charged using a solar module, or the Nuru PowerCycle. The NL3-1000, as known as the Laerdal Light, provides about four hours of lighting after a full day of solar charging, and can charge mobile phones.

ovcamp

OvCamp HS1-36

renewit-g1

G1 Solar Lantern

OvCamp HS1-36 becomes Omnivoltaic Power’s sixth product to meet the Lighting Global Quality Standards. This product comes with four bulbs, which after a day of solar charging, can light up four rooms simultaneously for almost six hours. It comes with a separate flashlight and can charge mobile phones.

The G1 Solar Lantern from Renewit Solar Solutions comes with two light settings, the brighter of which can provide lighting for six hours after a day of charging in the sun. The product can also charge mobile phones.

New family of products: fosera Pico Solar Home Systems (PSHS)

The fosera Pico Solar Home System (PSHS) product family have met the Lighting Global Quality Standards. The PSHS line of modular systems, which includes the PSHS 2800, PSHS 7000 and two other systems, are designed to power lights, mobile phones, radios and fans.

The products enable a user to connect up to four of its battery packs as they increase the number of lights and appliances to meet increasing demands for energy services in their household. As with all of fosera’s lighting products, the PSHS 2800 and PSHS 7000 use an easily replaceable and long-lasting lithium iron phosphate battery.

PSHS 2800

PSHS 2800

The fosera PSHS 2800 comes with a single lamp, but can power additional lamps and charge a mobile phone. With the single lamp, the PSHS 2800 provides almost 90 lumens of light for over seven hours after a full day of charging in the sun.

The fosera PSHS 7000 system comes with a single lamp that provides 170 lumens of light for over 9 hours. The system can support up to four lamps or appliances, along with a mobile phone charger, or other USB device.

PSHS 7000

PSHS 7000

The fosera PSHS line is the second family of products, after Niwa’s MSS family with two sub-systems of the Home Run and Office, to be tested as part of Lighting Global’s new Framework for Testing Product Component Families.

In accordance with this policy, over half of the individual components were tested, including those incorporated in the two systems described above. The family of products has been issued a Spec Book which presents the results of these component-level tests along with a list of the four SHS kits that are now regarded to have passed the Lighting Global Quality Standards.

fosera has local assembly plants in Ethiopia, Kenya and India.

New Policy for Performance Reporting Requirements

New Lighting Global Policy on Performance Reporting will ensure customers have information to make well-informed purchasing decisions © Sunlite

New Lighting Global Policy on Performance Reporting will ensure customers have information to make well-informed purchasing decisions © Sunlite

The Lighting Global team has released a new policy that presents requirements and guidelines for performance reporting on product packaging. The policy is intended to ensure that customers have access to the necessary information to make well-informed purchasing decisions.

Going forward, every product that meets the Lighting Global Quality Standards  will need to display the following key information on the packaging:

  • light output (or brightness) in lumens
  • daily solar runtime in hours per day
  • a qualitative description of the impact of mobile phone charging on product performance, such as “mobile phone charging can reduce the daily runtime of the lights”
  • basic warranty information (this element is not new and is the same as that historically required in the Quality Standards)

For complete details and guidelines, please review the Performance Reporting Requirements policy.

If you have questions on the policy, please review the stakeholder feedback document and/or contact qa@lightingglobal.org.

 

Lighting Africa Program Kicks Off in Nigeria

Lighting Africa comes to Nigeria © Bruno Demeocq/Lighting Africa

Lighting Africa comes to Nigeria © Bruno Demeocq/Lighting Africa

The Lighting Africa program, a joint initiative of IFC and the World Bank, was today launched in Nigeria where it will help increase access to affordable, clean and safer lighting for more than 30 percent of Nigeria’s population who live in rural areas, and have low incomes and no access to grid electricity.

Lighting Africa mobilizes the private sector to build and develop markets that enable access to clean, affordable, quality lighting products by fostering partnerships among local and global manufacturers and creating new channels through local distribution companies that will help build robust supply chains for off-grid lighting products.

Itotia Njagi, Program Manager for Lighting Africa program said, “Lighting Africa is helping to build a market to bring off-grid lighting and energy services across Africa by establishing quality standards, investing in consumer education, creating a favorable investment climate, and supporting innovative business models. As we foster these partnerships among all parties in the industry, various opportunities would be explored and our goal of inclusive electrification would be achieved in Nigeria.”

The expansion of the Lighting Africa program to Nigeria supports the World Bank Group’s Energy Business Plan. Under the Energy Business Plan, each World Bank Group institution will leverage its competencies and products to provide solutions to projects that encourage their viability and contribute to the sustainability of Nigeria’s power sector to underpin the government’s ambitious privatization and reform program.

Eme Essien Lore, IFC Country Manager for Nigeria said, “Part of the World Bank Group’s targeted interventions in the power sector includes off-grid solutions that make access to power more inclusive. These solutions, mostly solar powered, will reduce the hazards of using fuel based energy resources, improve the climate and accelerate development in Nigeria.”

The Lighting Africa program in Nigeria aims to help 5 million people not connected to the electricity grid access clean energy by 2017. This is expected to avert 100,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, associated with current fuel-based lighting technologies.

Lighting Africa is a key component of the Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP), an initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial. The Clean Energy Ministerial is a global forum where best practices are shared, and policies and programs encouraging and facilitating transition to a clean global energy economy are promoted.

The Lighting Africa program was launched in 2007, with pilot programs in Ghana and Kenya, and is now operational in 10 additional countries including Nigeria. The program, which has enabled more than 28.5 million people across Africa access clean, affordable lighting, has also inspired programs in Bangladesh, India, and Papua New Guinea.