Solar Lighting for the Base of the Pyramid

News feed from IFC:

Africa is poised to become the main market for solar portable lights globally by 2015.

This is just one of the key findings of the report entitled Solar Lighting for the Base of the Pyramid – Overview of an Emerging Market that the Lighting Africa Program has just released.

The report presents a snapshot of the solar portable lights market, which covers a range of lighting needs from individual tasks to general household lighting. It includes projected trends over the next five years.

Although technology-neutral as a program, Lighting Africa has conducted this research with a particular focus on solar portable lights. This is an emerging and fast growing part of the off-grid sector that deserves attention by the lighting industry, investors and the international development community.

Key findings:

· Solar portable lights could provide access to clean and safe lighting by 2015 to an estimated 65 million Africans who are currently either un-electrified or under-electrified. This development potential is attributed to three factors: a significant improvement in the quality and performance of solar portable lights in the past five years, a decline in the retail price, and products features that have been adapted to meet consumer needs.
· The market potential for solar portable lights is enormous and ripe for investment; the findings indicate a 40 – 50% compounded annual growth rate in sales volume for the next 5 years .
· Despite the tremendous growth, the market penetration for solar portable lights is likely to increase from 0.5 % to 4 % by 2015 . This is primarily driven by a mix of low grid penetration and high population growth rates.
· Access to finance is the biggest challenge to scaling the solar lighting market, according to 27 % of the surveyed market players.
· Other barriers include high taxes and tariff burden, market spoilage by sub-standards products, low consumer awareness and ineffective distribution and servicing.

Lighting Africa is seeking to address these challenges by establishing quality standards, investing in consumer education, creating a favorable investment climate and exploring innovative business distribution models to reach the base of the pyramid . Providing working capital and trade finance through local and international financial institutions will accelerate the access to better lighting.

It’s our hope that the report will provide additional insights to the various stake-holders of this dynamic sector and thus contribute to its further development and investment.

The report relies on the input of a broad range of industry experts, manufacturers, distributors and civil society organizations, including over 70 solar market players in over ten African markets and a dozen lighting product manufacturers worldwide. This will become a regular publication that will be updated every two years and circulated widely within the global off-grid lighting industry.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT here. http://www.lightingafrica.org/resources/detail/191022
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