A new manufacturer of portable solar lamps overcame tough competition to win two of the five 2012 Outstanding Product Awards announced at the Third International Off-Grid Lighting Conference and Trade Fair in Dakar.
Marathoner CLP dazzled judges and consumers with two products; a competitively priced single-task light powerful enough to light a room marketed as the Marathoner Beacon MB2 090 in Africa, and under the brand name SooLED B1 in Asia; and a three-lamp home lighting system, the Marathoner Beacon MB2 380/SooLED B3.
Marathoner/Toomeen won top prize in the Budget Category and was the sole winner in the Premium Category.
This year Outstanding Products Awards attracted 25 entrants in three price-based categories Budget retailing under $30 Mid-range for products priced between $30-$72; and Premium category retailing from $72-$135.
Other winners were Greenlight Planet Sun King Pro, which took the top prize in the Mid-Range Category. The Sun KingPro is a multipurpose lantern that can be used as a flash light/torch, a task light and a room light.
The Sundial TSL01 , an ambient/room light manufactured by Trony Solar Holdings , was the runner up in the Mid-Range Category.
Barefoot Power task light, the Firefly 2.5 Mobile , came in second in the Budget Category.
World Bank Energy Sector Manager for West and Central Africa, Meike van Ginneken , said:We must encourage development of quality, affordable lights because they are dramatically improving access to clean energy in low-income populations. We are beginning to see some government agencies, notably Tanzania rural electrification agency, embracing these products as part of their rural electrification strategies.
The Lighting Global Outstanding Product Awards are designed to spur development of quality, affordable lights for an estimated 1.6 billion people in the world without access to electricity.
Winners are granted rights to market their products using the phrase Lighting Global 2012 Outstanding Product Award, and an associated logo.
Lighting Global is an umbrella body that develops and works towards internationally harmonized quality standards for modern off-grid lighting products in order to safeguard the rights of consumers. It supports the quality assurance work of the Lighting Africa and Lighting Asia India programs by testing products and publishing results online in comparable, downloadable standard specification sheets.
Jr me Crtgny, Senior Country Officer responsible for IFC operations in Senegal, Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali and Mauritania said: These awards showcase manufacturers versatility and responsiveness to the challenge of bringing to market high quality yet affordable products that meet the energy needs of people without electricity. This convinces us that everyone can enjoy clean energy by 2030.
Competing products were put through rigorous laboratory tests and evaluation by rural customers in Senegal, Kenya, and India. A panel of judges considered technical performance and durability, end-user acceptance, affordability, and environmental sustainability. There were strong nominees in all categories; only the very best entrants received awards.
The judging panel was comprised of experts drawn from the UN Foundation, the German development agency GIZ, the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA), the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State University, and the World Bank Group Lighting Africa and Lighting Asia programs.