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Solar Energy to Light up Rural Africa

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Solar Lighting in Africa

In the rural areas of Africa, where there is no electricity, solar lights seem to be the perfect solution. Almost 95% of the rural African population depend on Kerosene lamps for their living. They spend a huge amount of money buying such lamps and kerosene oil which is so hazardous and polluting. They travel long distances to nearby towns just to recharge their batteries. With the advent of Solar Lights in these places, the life of these people will surely change. Solar Lighting is an economical way to save on electricity costs and is also environment friendly. Using Solar lights will definitely increase the efficiency of people by allowing them to work and children study after it gets dark. These people will be free to use their Mobile phones, TVs and radios to remain entertained.

An initiative in this direction is taken up by Rural Energy Foundation which runs the SolarNow program. As per this program, retailers and technicians are trained to sell such solar equipments, which are very cost effective, to people without electricity. This program covers nine countries. Rural Energy also provides loans to such under privileged people to buy such products.

D.light is doing an excellent job in this field and along with one of the brands sold by Rural Energy Foundation’s retailers, has sold more than 220K solar lanterns in rural areas of India and Africa.

Read more about Solar Energy in South Africa & Solar Energy Developers.

Advantages of using Solar Lights over Kerosene Lamps

Solar Lamps or Solar Lanterns have seen astounding growth in rural parts, driven mainly by the lack of access to electricity and the high costs of Kerosene or gas lamps. Solar Lamps have been so successful mainly due to their economic utility rather than their Green characteristics. About 100,000 Indian villages do not yet have electricity which means that the productivity comes to a complete stop in the dark.

Kerosene a dirty oil refined product is the main source of energy for millions of rural citizens. Kerosene is a health hazard resulting in accidental fires and causing a lot of smoke, which can lead to various respiratory diseases. Kerosene causes indoor pollution, which is estimated to kill 1.6 million people each year. The Kerosene is given in limited quantities and is not sufficient to light the darkness for a month or more. The advent of Solar LED Lamps has been a godsend solution to this problem. More such products are needed in the villages to help reduce carbon emissions. The solar-powered light is 10 to 20 times more brighter than a kerosene lamp.


Willem Nolens, director of Rural Energy Foundation, said: “Lack of access to energy — just as lack of clean drinking water — is a cause of poverty, not just a result of poverty.

“Gaining access to electricity can be really life-changing. People can increase their productivity, children can study, read books and watch television, which allows them to be connected to the world.

“Whole villages can become self-sufficient once someone has a home solar system.”

Rural Energy Foundation supports 250 independent local retailers in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Tanzania, Uganda, Senegal, Mozambique and Zambia.

 Read more about Solar Lighting in India Guide- List of Suppliers and Products.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

One Response so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Yotam Ariel

    Thank you for highlighting the value of solar for low-income villagers.

    For those interested to learn more and get involved, I compiled relevant resources here:

    Hope this helps,