|Senegal's Minister of Energy and Mines Aly Ngouille Ndiaye experiments with the winning products at the Marathoner CLP exhibition stand.
©Bruno Demeocq/Lighting Africa
In a world where more than 1 billion people lack access to electricity, solar lighting devices are helping transform lives by reducing health risks posed by kerosene lanterns; extending the productive hours in the day, thereby advancing education and incomes; and creating business opportunities as part of this new market. By recognizing the top solar lighting products, the Lighting Global Outstanding Product Awards help spur the market for quality-assured and affordable modern lighting products as well as progress toward the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Energy for All campaign’s goal of achieving universal energy access by 2030.
Five solar lighting devices recently won the 2012 Outstanding Product Awards and were announced at the Third International Off-Grid Lighting Conference and Trade Fair in Dakar, Senegal. The awards ceremony was sponsored in part by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as part of its commitment to the Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP) within the Clean Energy Ministerial.
|2012 Outstanding Product Awards, budget category winner (1st place): Marathoner CLP, marketed Marathoner Beacon MB2 090/Africa and SooLED B1/Asia.
©Bruno Demeocq/Lighting Africa
“It’s exciting to see the innovation that’s going on in the off-grid lighting market. These awards showcase manufacturers’ ability to bring to market products that are both high-quality and affordable as substitutes for kerosene lighting,” said Graham Pugh, director of the Office of International Climate Change Policy and Technology at DOE. Working with the ClimateWorks Foundation, DOE plans to expand the model of the Lighting Global competition to launch Global LEAP award competitions for the best off-grid lights in 2013 and the best off-grid televisions in 2014.
Best Solar Lighting Devices
The Outstanding Product Awards attracted 25 entrants in three price-based categories: budget (retailing under $30); mid-range (for products priced between $30 and $72); and premium (retailing from $72 to $135). The Marathoner Beacon MB2 090 (Africa)/SooLED B1 (Asia) won in the budget category, Greenlight Planet’s Sun King™ Pro won in the mid-range category, and the Marathoner Beacon MB2 380 (Africa)/SooLED B3 (Asia) won in the premium category (see table).
Two additional products were recognized as runners-up: the Sundial TSL01, an ambient/room light manufactured by Trony Solar Holdings, in the mid-range category; and the Firefly 2.5 Mobile, Barefoot Power’s task light, in the budget category.
The competing products were judged on technical performance and durability, end-user acceptance, affordability, and environmental sustainability. The judging panel comprised experts drawn from the UN Foundation, the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association, the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State University, and the World Bank Group’s Lighting Africa and Lighting Asia programs.
Remarkable Growth for the Off-Grid Lighting Market
Solar lanterns—particularly those that meet industry quality standards—are experiencing extraordinary sales growth. According to a new report authored by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank for Lighting Africa, lanterns designed for low-income households and micro-businesses in sub-Saharan Africa grew by more than 300 percent between 2008 and 2012, providing an estimated 4 million people with modern lighting.
Although approximately 600 million African consumers lack electricity, only two to three percent are using the modern lanterns. With increasing quality and decreasing prices, the report projects accelerating growth and adoption, with solar lanterns reaching 14 percent of consumers by 2015.
Lighting Africa is a joint program of the IFC and World Bank, and it is one of the key program activities of Global LEAP. Global LEAP supports the UN Sustainable Energy for All goal of achieving universal energy access by 2030 by encouraging sustainable commercial markets to provide affordable, modern off-grid energy and lighting products.