Lighting Africa opens the path for carbon financing

The United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Executive Board just approved an update to the methodology for crediting emissions reductions from clean off-grid lighting, bringing it  into close alignment with Lighting Africa’s quality assurance framework.

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Under the updated framework, products that meet Lighting Africa Minimum Quality Standards and Recommended Performance Targets based on test results from the Lighting Africa Quality Test Method (LA-QTM) will likely also be qualified for CDM projects. Testing through the LAQTM affords manufacturers an easy path to entry for accessing carbon financing.

Originally approved in Cancún a year ago, the methodology—officially called AMS.III-AR—provides requirements for product quality, performance, and project accounting to ensure the validity of carbon credits. This year’s update follows months of engagement by Lighting Africa personnel.

The official documentation for the methodology can be difficult to decipher, so the following is a quick summary of the key requirements and how they compare with Lighting Africa’s Quality Assurance framework.

  • Product Performance: Requires the same brightness levels (20 lumens or 25 lux over 1,000 cm2) and similar run time as Lighting Africa. The run time requirements in AMS.III-AR are less stringent: 3.5 hours per day of solar charging and 7 hours from a full battery if the product is charged by the grid (compared to 4 hours and 8 hours for Lighting Africa).
  • Product Quality: Requires the same levels of water exposure and physical ingress protection (depends on produce form factor), and similar levels of lumen maintenance and warranty protection as Lighting Africa. The lumen maintenance requirement is more stringent, at 80% or 85% maintenance of original brightness after 2,000 hours of operation—depending on the crediting period (compared to 70% for Lighting Africa). The warranty requirements are also more stringent at one year (compared to six months for Lighting Africa).
  • Testing Requirements: LA-QTM is the main reference for product test procedures, among other allowable procedures (most of which are less affordable and not tailored for the off-grid lighting market). The test results from LA-QTM are sufficient to complete the Project Design Document for CDM.

The new method, available at the following link, is valid beginning Dec 09, 2011:
http://cdm.unfccc.int/methodologies/DB/1ERDOJQX62OD2BH65G74XM28Z2CL53