Off-Grid African & South Asian Lighting Boom Saves Poor Households $3.4 Billion

According to the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA), poor households in Asia and Africa saved some $3.4 billion based on the rapid uptake of solar lighting.

GOGLA has released its Social Impact Report, which addresses a significant increase in solar lighting products in off-grid locales. The impact of having such lighting solutions available is viewed as “more than doubling households’ available ‘light’ time for work, study or socializing.”

Specifically, this means off-grid lighting products impact approximately 71.6 million people, who previously depended on kerosene lamps and battery-operated torches.

off-grid lighting shutterstock_170528495

GOOGLA executive director Koen Peters, said: “Solar lighting is having a genuine impact on people’s lives. We already knew that replacing kerosene with clean alternatives improves livelihoods, businesses and income levels. But we can now better assess the size of these impacts. Our data is based on actual realized sales, not estimates or individual case studies, making us confident about the size of these impacts. The off-grid solar industry is crucial to meeting our global Sustainable Development Goals.”

Among key findings of this report, we learn:

  • 6 million people’s ‘livelihoods’ are supported through the use of solar lighting products, meaning they derive additional income from either using or selling such products.
  • 9 million ‘old’ sources of lighting are no longer in use, such as kerosene lamps, candles and battery operated torches.
  • 6 million people currently live in a household which has an improved energy source, and thus benefit from better, cleaner and safer lighting.

GOOGLA states its data was collected using an online questionnaire. It has then been complemented based on existing information and checked for consistency by the research team.

“As in the previous two sales data collection rounds, this data collection and reporting process was overseen by Dutch management consultancy firm Berenschot. Besides adding management capacity and expertise, their involvement has provided a safeguard, ensuring that all company data remains confidential. The research team also included experts from within the market research firm Research2Evolve (R2E) as well as personnel from IFC Lighting Global. GOGLA and World Bank experts provided advice to the team, but had no access to the data themselves. “

The organization’s recent report, the GOGLA/Lighting Global ‘Global Solar Off-Grid Semi-Annual Market Report’. Together, the reports outline hows how the off-grid energy industry grew across the world in 2015.

“The off-grid solar market continues to grow rapidly, and during the second half of 2015, over 4 million off-grid branded and quality verified solar-powered devices were sold—totaling more than US$110 million in revenue. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia accounted for nearly 95% of sales. In Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda saw the strongest uptake with Rwanda, Zambia and Nigeria continuing to gain traction. In South Asia, India represented more than 90% of sales—nearly 1.5 million products—equivalent to the number of products sold in Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda combined. Over the last 3 years, 27 million people have benefited from such products worldwide, and a full analysis of the social impact results of these sales will follow soon.”

Image via Shutterstock

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