Philips signed a public private partnership agreement with the Dutch Government, which will see the development of a new generation of sustainable – solar powered lighting solutions for Sub-Saharan Africa.
As part of the agreement the Dutch government will provide funding for awareness creation, entrepreneurial training, as well as support for finance mechanisms and project management. Philips in turn commits to provide a balanced investment in new product development for African people and households deprived of access to modern energy services.
The new PPP agreement aims to provide 10 million people in 14 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with affordable, appropriate and sustainable energy solutions and services by 2015. These solutions will involve state of the art LED lighting solutions.
Gerard Kleisterlee, President and CEO of Philips said in a recent speech, “The rural lighting markets for low income people in developing countries, is not very well known or explored. It is essential that governments and international organizations such as the NGO’s, World Bank, and various companies get together in a network to work out appropriate business models”.
Today an estimated 500 million Africans live without electricity. For these people nighttime means either darkness or the flickering light of a candle or kerosene lamp. However as prices of oil have risen dramatically during the past few years, very few can now afford the kerosene they need. As a result therefore at the going down of the sun at around 6.30-7.00pm life simply comes to a stop for hundreds of millions of people. Children don’t do homework; work and other economic activities stop too. Quality of life is also affected. In these cases self powered and solar powered lighting solutions really make a difference.
Part of the solution can come from a new generation of solar powered lighting systems. Philips has recently been testing a new solar ‘Uday’ lantern, a high quality, compact lighting system that provides bright white light, charged by the power of the sun. Each days charge will provide 250 lumens (the equivalent light of 250 candles) for 4-5 hours.
Benefits of new solar lighting solutions include significant cost savings, less fire risk from Kersosine type lanterns, and no direct carbon footprint and the use of a sustainable natural commodity, sunlight or manpower to generate electricity. In addition there are economic and social benefits from being able to undertake activities in the evening hours. Other products and services could involve crankable torches, woodstove and water purifiers.