Uptake of solar lamps in Africa rises, says study

Africa will be one of the biggest markets for solar lamps by 2015, a new report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank has said.

The Washington-based institutions unveiled the findings in a report released dubbed The Lighting Africa Markets Trends Report 2012 — Overview of the Off-Grid Lighting Market in Africa.

According to the report, 600 million Africans rely on expensive energy such as kerosene but the shift to solar energy has grown with sales rising under the Lighting Africa Initiative programme sponsored by IFC and the World Bank.

“The market for quality off-grid lighting products has matured more rapidly than Lighting Africa predicted three years ago, our cumulative sales could grow to 28 million solar lanterns in Africa by 2015, double the 2010 estimate,’’ said Mr Itotia Njagi, the Lighting Africa programme manager.

‘‘We intend to bridge the gap and cover 250 million people who are without electricity by 2030,’’ said Mr Njagi.

Already, companies like Total, Panasonic and Energizer have started venturing into the off-grid market, a significant pointer to the fact that the sector is commercially viable.

Most of Lighting Africa’s products are used in rural areas where there is no electricity.