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Enjoying the Blissful Agony of the World Cup: Off-Grid Energy’s Benefits Reach Beyond Productive Use

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If you are one of the 3.2 billion World Cup viewers from around the globe, you likely know the full range of emotions that accompany the act of staring at a screen watching grown men chasing a small ball around the field, half a world away.

When your favored team is doing well the elation is tremendous – and when your favored team has lost, the pain is real. But one of the most frustrating things about watching a game is when the TV suddenly cuts out and you are left wondering what is happening on the field at that very moment, while you stare at a blank screen hopelessly waiting for the picture to return. If you are lucky, this anxiety is resolved within seconds; perhaps a satellite briefly slipped out of range, or the Wi-Fi suddenly dropped for a moment– and the image comes back on in time for you to see that all-important penalty shot. But, if you are one of the hundreds of millions of  people around the world living with unreliable electricity, this situation may well last for the duration of the match if the power cut out — as it so routinely does — without any indication of when it will return.

In areas without any grid electricity at all, simply gaining access to the energy to power a TV is an extra hurdle that must be overcome – before being able to watch if a particular team overcomes the hurdle of the group stage to make it to the knock-out rounds. In Africa, for example, where about 67% of the population doesn’t have grid electricity – but an estimated 86% of the population is interested in following the World Cup – creative solutions must be found.

Fortunately, there are now several quality-verified ‘plug-and-play’ solar home system (SHS) kits that contain TVs – in addition to several light points, USB power ports, and in some cases other small appliances – that are easy to install, and can be set up in minutes. In many cases users can pay for their SHS in small increments through pay-as-you-go (PAYG) technology via their mobile phones, making them affordable even for low-income households.

Lighting Africa and Lighting Global are committed to increasing access to these and other quality-verified off-grid solar products through market-based solutions across Africa and around the globe.

We hope that all of you watching – whether with electricity from the grid, or off-grid – are enjoying the World Cup. And if your team is already out, remember, this all starts again in just 4 years! We can’t wait to see how many off-grid solar TVs are in use when the next Cup rolls around.