In 2009, IFC/World Bank launched the Lighting Africa program in Kenya, with an objective of mobilizing the private sector to create markets for clean and affordable off-grid lighting products for rural communities not connected to the grid.
At the time, Kenya had a national grid access rate of twenty-three percent, and only five percent connections in rural areas (fifty percent in urban). Eighty-four percent of the rural population was using kerosene as their primary source of lighting. Solar was virtually nonexistent with only 2.2% of the rural population using it as their primary source of lighting.
Nine years down the line, the solar market in Kenya has realized significant gains – with a market penetration currently estimated at between 25 – 30% – and is now the largest market for household solar in Africa.