Market Research on PicoPV Systems of Lighting Africa

From energypedia


Lighting Africa is a joint IFC and World Bank program. Its objective is to provide up to 250 million people in sub-Saharan Africa with access to light generated by alternative energy sources by 2030.


The research was accomplished by Research International East Africa.

It includes:

  • five products: a table lamp and two flexibly mountable lamps powered by means of small, portable solar panels; one flashlight powered by solar panels; and a second flashlight powered by common batteries.[1]
  • two key market segments: households and micro-businesses in rural and urban areas [2]
  • five countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia

The research collection, which was accomplished in 2008, consists of:

  • Exploratory Qualitative Study. Objective is to gain a first insight on user demands and preferences. As usual in case of qualitative data, results can not be generalized, but provide an in-depth understanding of consumer needs and motivation. This phase includes 55 interviews. Simultaneously each respondent tested an off-grid product. Interviews were accomplished in each of the two market segments.
  • Quantitative Usage and Attitudes Study. This phase aims to quantify users habits and attitudes. Additional questions, which were of keen interest: current expenditures for energy supply, willingness to pay. This phase consits of interviews with 1000 households and 400 small business owners in each country. Interviews were accomplished through structured questionnaires.
  • Product and Concept Testing Study. Objective is to find out new additional product types. Strenght and weaknesses of products are explored. Key questions in interviews were: Who is the Consumer? How does the Consumer use light? How do consumers perceive the products? What does the consumer want? Which products do consumers prefer? How much is the consumer willing to pay? In order to explore success of product launch the following measure was applied: WHAT? Find out, if the consumer understand the product and its use makes a noticeable difference. WHY? Is the perceived difference desirable? WOW? Is the benefit big enough to get over barriers? [3]


Main findings, which overlap in all studies, are presented in the following part:

  • Most people are not connected to the grid, even if it is often within 5 km. If they are connected, grid is often not a reliable source.
  • Better lighting is a wish of first priority in order to improve household, business and their facilities. Most respondents stated, that their current used lighting device is not their preferred one, but that they can not afford an alternative energy source.
  • Light is used for about 4 hours at night. It should last for 6 hours per day minimum (sometimes used in the morning as well)
  • Main living area and bed room are mostly enlightened, while dining area, place for cooking and outside area are often neglected.
  • Due to a lack of awareness of consequences of kerosene and paraffin, most people don't worry about environmental effects of kerosene/paraffin. Additionally, only few people worry about health effects.
  • Businesses mostly use their lighting device only in their businesses and not at home.
  • Kitchen and bathing facilicites are often outside the houses.
  • Lighting devices used most are: kerosene, tin and paraffin lamps.
  • solar lanterns are mostly perceived as product of high quality, but in terms of ease of operation common lamps rank mostly much higher.
  • User of different countries prefer different colors, shapes and designs. Familiar designs or new designs, which are associated with objects with positive images, seem to be preferred.
  • Hours of use as well as recharging process depend more on habits of usage, than on actual battery life.
  • People prefer: long-lasting material, brightness of light, affordability, portability, ease of operation, illumination of large area, a device to stand the lamp on a surface or hang it on the wall, indicator for charging process, a slot for additional applications (radio, TV), safety of charging process (theft).
  • Nearly all people fear the rainy season due to a lack of sunlight to recharge their lamps.

Below are specific findings of each study of the five countries.


Ethiopia Energy Situation

Qualitative Study[4]

Use of Light:

Mostly used lighting source is the paraffin lamp. Due to perceived negative impacts, users would prefer an alternative, if available and affordable.


  • Light is used in the morning for about one hour to get ready for the day. It is used as well in the evening for four hours for domestic jobs (preparing dinner, making homework, etc.).
  • In houses with one room, light is used for all activities, while in bigger houses mainly two lighting devices are needed.
  • Light illuminates mainly the living room. But lamps are carried around if needed (toilet, kitchen, etc.).


  • Light is used in the morning for about one hour in businesses, which open before sunrise. Businessess use the light in the evening mainly from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. (mean of 3 hours).
  • In bigger shops, light is mainly used for the customer room.
  • Markets outside use portable lights only, if street lights don't work.

Lantern Perceived Advantages Perceived Disadvantages
Dynamo, LED
  • adjustment of light
  • no batteries
  • easy to use
  • small size
  • possibility to hang - light for a whole area
  • good brightness
  • portability
  • possibility of use during power blackouts
  • design like thermos
  • easy breakable handle and panel
  • time, energy necessary for charging process
  • noise during charging process
  • short duration of light
  • difficult to close and open

Task Light:

Solar, CFL

  • size and color
  • easy to use: switch
  • good brightness
  • portability
  • economic (rechargeable batteries; solar)
  • use as torch or lantern
  • easy to place everywhere
  • birdirectional light
  • heavy
  • material seems easy breakable (glass)
  • expensive
  • use only in summer, it has to be moved around recharging
  • recharging encourages theft (has to be left outside)

Task Light:

Replaceable batter, LED

  • appealing design
  • easy to use
  • small size
  • easy to place everywhere
  • portability
  • good brightness
  • bending to different directions
  • batteries everywhere available
  • appears expensive, luxury
  • batteries are expensive
  • breakable

Spot Light:

Solar, LED

  • appears long-lasting
  • economic (no bill, batteries)
  • adequate brightness
  • in terms of design least popular product; indoor use difficult
  • expensive
  • use only in summer
  • no switch
  • light intensity not strong enough
  • difficult to place
  • charging encourages theft


Solar, LED

  • familiar design
  • portability
  • easy to use
  • economical (solar)
  • charging encourages theft
  • light too dark
  • use only in summer
  • batteries are not easy available
  • panel easily breakable
  • expensive appearance
  • too big and flat size


Replaceable battery, LED

  • long-lasting design and material
  • good brightness
  • portability
  • easy to use
  • familiar design
  • heavy
  • expensive
  • multipurpose not possible
  • batteries not easy available
  • expensive (because of batteries)
Dynamo, rechargeable battery, LED
  • size (able to fold) and weight
  • easy to handle / place
  • long-lasting material
  • light available anytime
  • no smoke
  • economical (solar)
  • breakable handle
  • light intensity not strong enough
  • charging process lasts to long
Flood Light: Solar Light, Linear Fluorescent
  • light-weight
  • economic (solar)
  • strong light intensity
  • easy to use
  • small size
  • no negative impact on environment
  • charging encourages theft
  • spare parts not easy available
  • use only in summer
  • connecting lead (panel-bulb) too small
Lighting System Concept
  • solar
  • no interfere with the power
  • economic (more reasonable then electricity)
  • no additional costs
  • expensive
  • risk of theft
  • use only in summer
  • spare parts may be not available

► The study in detail can be read up here.

Quantitative Study[5]


  • The majority of Ethiopian consumers are farmers (81%), living in rural area (79%), with an average income of households about USD 115.79. 91% of consumers and 89% of traders are not connected to the grid. Both connected to the grid, experience cut offs at least once a week.
  • 26% of consumers state, that the most urgent improvement is better lighting. Main consequence of better lighting is an improvement for children in order to make their homework (43%). Because this is the first activity, which is stopped due to a lack of lighting in all Ethiopian regions.
  • Kerosene is the major energy source. Preferred type of lighting device are paraffin lamps with glass cover (25%). Solar powered lanterns are preferred by 15%. Quality of paraffin lamps is rated lower than of solar lanterns. Light bulb in socket are rates best in terms of quality. On the other hand ease of use of solar lanterns is rated lower than of paraffin lamps. Flashlight are easiest to handle.
  • The average time light is used is about 3-4 hours. Light is used mainly for the living room, most people need to enlighten two rooms. Lighting device is mainly hung from a hook on the wall (47%).
  • Chatting / socialising (78%) ist the most common activity at night.
  • 39% are limited in their outdoor activites, mainly taking care of livestock (71%) or visiting neighbors (34%).
  • Head of household decides about purchasing and money.
  • However, 96% of respondents don't worry about impacts on health or environment (99%) using paraffin or kerosene.


  • Most businessess are rural based (78%), traders are between 25 and 44 years.
  • The majority of Businessess open between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and close between 6 and 9 p.m. (already dark)
  • Improve lighting is of first priority (20%), 12% stated a power connection as most important improvement. 40% of them need this to increase their level of productivity.
  • Kerosene is as well the most used energy source. A Paraffin lamp with glass cover is the lamp used mostly (47%). 84% use their light only at the businesss premises. Preferred position of the lamp is the place, where the money is collected.
  • 55% never open their business after dark, due to a lack of customers (70%).
  • Barriers to improved lighting is the unavailability of better lights (34%) and affordability (27%).
  • Traders are mainly aware of depository bank account with interest, microfinance programmes and Co-operative loans as source of financial services that can be used to improve businesses. But practical the most accessible are microfinance programmes.

Most Acceptable Price Point

Household Trade
Lantern 5.02 USD 6.23 USD
Torch 3.22 USD 3.32 USD
Task Light 4.82 USD 5.02 USD
Flood Light N/A 7.24 USD

► The study in detail can be read up here.

Product and Concept Testing Study[3]

Products were evaluated before and after a test phase by consumers.

  • Nearly all products were used for 3 until 5 hours. The average number of hours the product is charged daily is about 1 to 3 hours.
  • Interviewees seem to measure brightness by comparing the new lighting device with their own one. Hence, depending on their lighting device, evaluation of adequacy of light turn out differently: consumers using kerosene lamps evaluate the light intensity good, whereas consumers using home made devices, such as light bulb connected to dry cells, evaluate the light as being weak and inadequate. Thus, last mentioned users even prefer their own lighting devices.
  • users appreciate solar charging systems ("WOW" no running costs, no smoke) , but they worry about the rainy season.
  • portability and light intensity are important features.
  • size of lantern should not be too small.
  • illuminance in different directions is appreciated.
  • willingness to buy often decreases after use, because of weak lighting, no portability. But depents as well on the affordability.

► Individual evaluations of each lamp can be read up on the homepage of Lighting Africa


Ghana Energy Situation

Qualitative Study[6]

  • Respondents perceive advantages: economical, portability, regulation of light intensity, ease of operation, strong material, reliability, hook for hanging, illumination of large area,
  • Respondenst dislike: not bright enough light intensity, short duration of light, insecurity (theft), bulky design,


  • Consumers live in houses, which consists of 2 until 4 roomes. They often share their houses with relatives or friends. Meals are prepared outside.
  • Activites light is used for: preparing dinner, going to toilet outside, homework (children), looking for items in the dark, laundry in the morning, keep insects away, brighten children's rooms (fear of darkness).
  • Lights are often kept on the whole night, major problem of lighting devices is the cost.
  • Paraffin lamps are used mainly. disadvantages of commonly used lighting devices: less brightness (slow down work), smoke makes goods black and unattractive, smoke makes food inconsumable, expensive, health problems. The same goes for micro-businessess. Other lighting devices used are: Candle, torchlight and rechargeable lamp.
  • expenditures for energy supply are placed behind expenditures for food.


  • Traders mainly open at 8 a.m. and close around 7 or 8 p.m.. Food vendors either work the whole day or from 5 or 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. For the hours in dark, kerosene lamps are used. Traders stated, that they would open longer, if there were more customers in the dark.
  • light is needed for: attracting buyers, to pick up items, giving out change.
  • tin lamps are used often by sellers and traders. it is considered dangerous, because it can causes fire. Additionally, it smokes a lot and can harm selling goods.


  • As ways of advertisement Lighting Africa recommends: using mobile vans, radio and showing samples.
  • Solar technology is perceived to be expensive, but simultaneously being safe, attractive and convenient to use.
  • a lot of people need lighting devices, which are safer and more convenient.
  • people working in indigenous lighting trade will to restrict success of solar lanterns.

Evaluation of certain products are similar to the ones mentioned above.

► They can be read up in detail in the report.

Quantitative Study[7]

39.2% of people in Ghana are connected to the grid. For people not connected to the grid, nearly no other energy sources are available except of kerosene.


  • most occupation is farming (39%), followed by blue-collar jobs (teaching, security guard,..)
  • the average income of households is USD 115.9
  • Of 10% of households, who are connected to the grid, 20% experience daily cuts and 38% experience cuts at least once a week.
  • Expenditures for monthly energy supply is on average USD 15.
  • more people than in Kenya and Tanzania are more than 5 km away from existing grid (31%).
  • 37% named better lighting as first thing, which should be improved, 13% named connection to the grid.
  • Things that could be done differently with better light, people mostly named homework and chatting/socialising. Only few things, which require electricity are done by the people at night.
  • lights are used approximately for 4 until 5 hours. Main living area and bedroom are the rooms enlightened mostly.
  • Insecurity was named by 35% of respondents as cause for restricted activities outside (for example visiting neighbours)
  • Paraffin lamps with glass cover are used mostly by far. Flashlights and candles are used as back up.
  • Preferred type of lighting devices are solar lanterns (32%). This is caused by perception as being of high quality, aspirational, safe and clean. Despite this rating, solar lanterns are experienced as being not as easy to use as flashlights, candles and paraffin lamp. Both facts go for traders as well.
  • lighting devices are placed mainly on the table (44%) or floor (47%).
  • 86% of interviewees don't worry about health effects or environmental impacts (93%) of using paraffin / kerosene.


  • Monthly profit is USD 68.3. Revenue is smaller than in shops in Kenya and Tanzania.
  • Of 10% of businessess, who are connect to the grid, 65% experience power cuts once a week.
  • Even if grid connection is relatively close (within 5 km), due to economic factors, most businessess are not connected.
  • Most traders open at 7 until 8 a.m. and close between 6 and 8 p.m.
  • 36% named improved lighting as improvemend of first priority in their business. As barriers to improve lighting are mentioned economic reasons.
  • However, 57% of traders are satisfied to some extent with their current lighting devices.
  • 54% interviewees stated, that they don't carry their lighting devices home.
  • 34% of respondents don't operate after sunset at any time and stated lack of light as reason (60%).
  • People are mostly aware of Depository bank account with interest, microfinance programmes and Co-operative loans as financial services to improve business. In practice most accessible are microfinance progammes.

Most Acceptable Price Point

Household Trade
Lantern USD 7.7 USD 9.6
Torch USD 4.3 USD 5.2
Task Light USD 6.25 USD 7.6
Flood Light N/A USD 10.5

► The study in detail can be read up here.

Product and Concept Testing Study[8]

  • Dislikes of not having electricity are: too much heat / no fan; no possibility to watch TV or listen to the radio; no work at home possible; food wastage (no refrigerator); no chilled drinking water; no charge of mobile phones; no iron.
  • Choice determinants are: Cost /affordability, Brightness/lighting need; durability, safety, prestige/ status.
  • The ideal lighting device should be powered by solar energy and should be cost-free running. Its brightness should be equal to electricity light. Key factors are: ease to handle, slot for additional application (TV and fan), blue and white color, large angle of radiation, indicator to recognize when charging process is completed.
  • Lighting devices, which are solar powered, were preferred. Furthermore, lighting devices should not produce any heat during use.
  • Lighting devices were mainly used in the evening hours.
  • Suggestions: a stand for the lamp, more compact battery and a waterproof solar panel, assuring security of lamp and solar panel during recharge, high intensity of light, portability of lamps, flexibility to illuminate different directions, long-lasting energy, multi-purpose usage, slot for charging the mobile phone.
  • Barriers are: initial cost, uncertainty of safety and protection from water, accidents, etc. during the recharging process. Consumers need guarantee of long life-span.

► Individual evaluations of each lamp can be read up on the homepage of Lighting Africa


Kenya Energy Situation

Qualitative Study[9]

  • Lighting devices used most, are paraffin and tin lamps (wide availability and cheap). But they are not most preferred.
  • Respondents appreciate: no smoke or heat; ease of operation, adjustable light intensity, portability, solar power, stability on surface, bright light, no affection of eyesight, easily recognition as lamp (design), long duration of light, multipurpose usage, good grip, cost effective (no running cost), safety of use.
  • Respondents dislike: fragile material, batteries (not easy available), no indicator, that shows completion of charing, insecurity (theft), production of heat during use, bulky, difficult to mount, lack of switch.
  • Interviewees made suggestion for advertisement: Road shows on markets (explain function of products and answer questions), give out free test samples, employ agents to move products around, radio/TV, using local outlets


  • lighting is needed in the morning (duartion: about one hour mainly in the kitchen) and in the evening (duration about 4 hours; in urban informal settlements the whole night)
  • most respondents are not aware of the negative effects to the environment. But interviewees worry about health effects of lighting devices, particularly paraffin and tin lamps.


  • light is needed in the morning for about one hour and 2 until 3 hours in the evening. They open between 5 and 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. Because of a lack of costumers after dark, poor lighting, lack of security and expensive paraffin shops doesn't open longer.


  • great dissification with commonly used lighting devices.
  • preferred light are solar lanterns, because of sufficient light, familiar design and reliability.

► The study in detail can be read up here.

Quantitative Study[10]

  • 72% of Kenyan people use kerosene.


  • Average monthly income is USD 153.60. Head of hosehoulds are often females.
  • 10% of respondents are connected to the grid, 54% of those experience power cuts at least once a week. This situation is similar for businesses.
  • improve lighting is a wish of first priority.
  • Making homework (43%) and doing household chores (24%) are mentioned as things, which would be done differently with better lighting.
  • Except for kerosene most of the households (82%) don't have an alternative energy source. 13% named car batteries as alternative power source. Paraffin lamps are used mostly. 39% prefer solar powered lighting devices (high quality), 24% prefer paraffin lamps. On the contrary, solar lanterns are perceived to be not very easy to use.
  • In the morning light is used for about one or two hours, while it is used at night for about four hours.
  • Activities done after dark are mostly preparing and cooking food (65%), chatting/socialising (42%), listening to the radio (41%) and resting (37%). Most respondents mentioned reading as activity being limited due to a lack of adequate light. Using a communal toilet is mentioned by most respondents (56%) as not possible to perform due to a lack of adequate light.
  • Insecurity while performing outdoor activities is reported (24%) as problem caused by a lack of light.
  • Lighting devices are mostly placed on the table (73%), or carried around (22%).
  • 44% worry about health effects of paraffin/kerosene. 29% worry about negative impacts for environment.


  • Grid is close by for 66% of traders, but the majority don't know anything about extension plans.
  • Most traders open from 6 a.m. until 8 a.m. and close between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Traders need light in the morning as well as in the evening hours.
  • First priority of traders is to improve structure itself (26%), followed by improvement of lighting (21%).
  • However, 59% of traders are satisfied to some extent with their current lighting device. Lighting Africa suspects used sunlight during day as cause for satisfaction.
  • 43% open their shops as well after dark. 40% don't open, mostly due to a lack of light (41%), lack of costumers (31%) and increased insecurity (29%). 47% of traders believe, that improved light will attract more customers after dark.
  • The biggest barrier to improve light are economic factors.
  • lamps are placed at the table, where money is collected (40%), or to light up products(30%) or costumer's faces (28%). Solar laterns are the preferred type of lamp (34%).
  • Most traders (61%) are aware of co-operative loans as financial service, but most accessible are micofinance credits (12%).

Most Acceptable Price Point

Household Trade
Lantern USD 13.63 USD 18.18
Torch USD 3.40 USD 3.79
Task Light USD 10.30 USD 14.40
Flood Light N / A USD 16.67

-> The study in detail can be read up here.

Product and Concept Testing Study[11]

  • Dislikes of not having electricity: darkness, no use of electronic appliances possible, ironing is difficult, cold environment, time is wasted while preventing accidents.
  • Electricity/grid is perceived as ideal product, as well as solar powered devices. Key characteristics are: ease of use, affordability, brightness, safe to use, possibility to use several lamps, no heat during use, easy to hung, long life-span, from a prominent manufacturer, possible to use it for commercial purpose.
  • people appreciate: dark colors, such as black, dark green or silver (dirt can not be seen easily), possibility to hung (strap), possibility to charge electrical applications, light should shine in different directions, portability, two bulbs, long wires to carry it to another house, stands, shape like a camera (indicates high status and positive image), light weight, free of running-cost.
  • people dislike: if the light has no indicator, which shows the status of charging, labeling, in a language consumers don't understand (illiterate persons should be considered as well), lighting like a torch, flat shape, insufficient light, yellow color of lamp (easily become dirty), dim light.
  • Most of the people thought the product would be worth, but could not afford the price at once.


Tanzania Energy Situation

Qualitative Study[12]

  • Respondents perceive the following advantages using one of the tested products: adeuqate light intensity, familiar design (similar to paraffin lanterns), long-life span, easy to handle, economic, dimmer, portability, possibility to hang , light weight, multi purpose, if the lamp cannot get rust, handle to charge (dynamo), environmental friendly, color not affected by dust (orange), "white" light, which doesn't hurt the eyes, panel integrated in the lamp, small size of lamp, safe of use, brighten large areas, switch
  • Respondents dislike: lead between light and solar panel (it should be possible to leave light at home during charging), fragile material, expensive, cannot be left with children, needs attention during charging, unfamiliar design (some thought it was a food flask), if the light is not waterproof, dim light, heat produced by the lamp, bulky design
  • Maximum amount Tanzanians would spent for a mondern lighting device is USD 7.50. Lighting Africa estimates Tanzania to be a "tough market to crack in terms of pricing".[12] (p.79)


  • people use light for: reading (children's education), praying, bathing and cooking. Lamps used mostly are tin lamps and kerosene lamps.
  • Electricity is defined as "white colour". It is perceived as not reliable.


Traders open at 7.30 a.m. and close at 7.30 p.m to 9 p.m. 7 days a week.

► Results of the qualitative Study with consumer statements can be read up in the full report.

Quantitative Study[13]


  • most people are farmers (36%), 18% are unemployed.
  • average monthly income is USD 90.
  • Of 10% of people connected to the grid, 47% report about a frequency of power cuts at least once a weak or even daily (8%).
  • 81% of households are within 5 kms from already existing grid.
  • 32% state, that improve lighting is the most important thing in order to improve their household or its facilities.
  • 82% report, that kerosene is their major energy source. This goes as well for businesses.
  • light is used for about 4 hours at night.
  • Most common night time activities are chatting / socialising (51%), resting (34%), preparing and cooking fod (29%) and listen to the radio (27%).
  • Reading is the activity mentioned most, which could not be done due to lack of lighting. Concerning outdoor activities respondents mentioned using a communal toilet (40%), getting water (37%), visiting friends or familiy members (32%), and tending to livestok (29%).
  • Problems experienced due to a lack of lighting are insecurity during outdoor activities (33%) and skipping of household chores (20%).
  • Preferred type of lamp are paraffin lamps with glass cover (31%) and solar powered lanterns (25%).
  • 68% place the lamp on the table, 19% on the floor and 18% carry them around.
  • 60% use paraffin as well for cooking.
  • 21% worry about health effects (mainly coughing), 11% worry about environmental effects.


  • Of 11% of traders connected to the grid, 61% report about power cuts daily or once a week.
  • Improved light (29%) and tools and equipment (21%) are mentioned most as wish to improve business and its facilities.
  • Traders open between 7 and 8 a.m. and close between 6 and 10 p.m. Therefore, 62% open regularly after dark. 68% believe to earn more money, if they would open longer.
  • 72% of traders are satisfied to some extent with their current lighting devices! Not bright enough lights are the main cause to be dissastisfied (54%).
  • Economic factors are the biggest barriers to improve lighting (76%).
  • 75% use paraffin lamps with glass cover. But solar powered lanterns are preferred (32%) over paraffin lamps. However, 72% are satisifed with current lighting devices to some extent.
  • 39% use the lamp to enlighten products, costumer faces (30%) or the place where the money is collected (28%).
  • 46% of traders are aware of depository bank accounts with interest, co-operative loans (39%) and short term loans with interest (35%) as financial services, but in practice access to financial service is depository bank accounts with interest (19%) and depository bank accounts without interest (19%).

Most Acceptable Price Point

Household Trade
Lantern USD 8.00 USD 8.50
Torch USD 4.00 USD 4.70
Task Light USD 6.00 USD 8.10
Flood Light N/A USD 4.70

► Details can be read up in the full report.

Product and Concept Testing Study[14]

  • dislikes of not having electricity: lack of enternainment, lack of access to information about current news, no preservation of food
  • the ideal product should have the following attributes: very bright, white light, affordable (USD 7-11.3), it should not produce any unhealthy emissions or negtive effects on the eyes. Further key factors are: generation of own power, long-lasting, porability, circular shape, readily available (electronic shops), have warranty, reputable manufacturers (e.g. Japanese).
  • Respondents like: affordability, brightness, radio option, two lamps, ease of use, no health side effects, black colour (dirt can hardly be seen), TV and mobile phone slot, portability, detachable charging system, trendy design, bulb at the top of the lamp, clean environment, free-cost running
  • Respondents dislike: black colour (only before use), no light dimming option, yellow light, non-availability of batteries, strong glare, small solar panel, daily recharging, labelings in another language,
  • Consumers believe that bigger lamps produce stronger light and vice versa. If this is not the case they are irritated and sceptical about the quality of light.
  • Tanzanian users are very concerned about health benefits of the tested lighting devices.
  • Preferred products are mostly not afforable for the people, but they they are willing to engage financial services.


Zambia Energy Situation

Qualitative Study[15]

  • activies depending on light: cooking, eating, reading, preparing to leave the house, relaxing, using bathroom and toilet facilities, taking care of babies.
  • lights are mainly used between 5 a.m. and sunrise and from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • Women's responsibility are expenses for lighting source, she gets a budget from her husband, which she has to manage.
  • paraffin lamps are used mostly (easy available, cheap)
  • almost all interviewees worry about health effects as a consequence of smoke. Regarding environmental impacts, they confuse it with health effects.
  • respondents like: familiar and aspirational design, dimmer, savings due to solarcharging, adequate brightness, long-lasting material, ease to operate, portable, light weight, mobile charger, multi purpose, enlightenment of different directions, environmental friendly, strong handle, safely use (no risk of electrocution), possibilty to place the lamp on surface and to hang it
  • respondents dislike: expensive cost, non-transparental plastic (impression of giving less light, than it could), short leads (lamps is placed inside during charging process), unfamiliar design, resources needed (mechanical charging; care), heat, fragile material, no security during charging, bulky design,
  • consumers are confused about the technology of solar and do not have any knowledge or exposure to it. But there is enthusiasm about the solar products.

Quantitative Study[16]

  • 9% of households and traders are conntected to the grid. They experience frequent power cuts (89% at least once a week).


  • Average household income is US $150.9.
  • the major occupation is farming (28%), 25% of respondents are unemployed.
  • improve lighting is a wish of first priority (37%), 24% want to improve the structure itself.
  • 38% stated, that their children would be able to do their homework with better lighting. 21% named doing houshold chores.
  • Candles are the main energy source of most people (73%), followed by firewood and charcoal (13%). Contrary to most other African Countries (see studies above), kerosene is not used widely. Flahslights are used as backup.
  • Consumers use light between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.-10:30 p.m.. Thus, they use light for a shorter time than in other countries.
  • the living room is the area, which is used and lit longest.
  • 70% use their evening to chat and socialize, 45% prepare food and cook during the evening and 34% take a rest. Activities, which require electricity are carried out rarely.
  • Due to a lack of light getting water (53%), using toilet facilties (38%) and visiting neighbor's houses (31%) are restricted.
  • Problem as a consequence of lack of light: insecurity during activities outside (22%), difficulties during study (19%), household chores are postponed for day time (16%).
  • preferred type of lamp are solar powered lanterns (45%).
  • 62% state, that they place the lamp on the table.
  • 57% of interviewees worry about health effects of paraffin/kerosene (mostly about coughing), 35% also worry about environmental effects, particularly reduction of life quality of animals and vegetation.


  • Traders open between 7 and 8 a.m. and close between 6 and 8 p.m.
  • as households, main energy source of traders are candles. A large number of 21% do not have any energy source.
  • 58% named a lack of light as reason for closing the shop in the evening, 23% mentioned a lack of consumers. Better services for costumers (42%) and attraction of costumers (52%) are benefits users expect.
  • Economical reasons were identified as barrier to improve lighting: no money for lighting devices (56%), no money for fuel / batteries (19%).
  • 36% prefer solar powered lamps. 62% used them where the money is collected, 26% to light up products

Most Acceptable Price Point

Household Traders
Lantern USD 11.10 USD 12.30
Torch USD 5.10 USD 5.10
Task Light USD 10.20 USD 10.50
Flood Light N/A USD 15.00

Product and Concept Testing Study [17]

  • Likes of not having electricity: no expensive bills; no risks, such as fire, electrocution, shock.
  • Dislikes of not having electricity: electrical appliances, such as TV, radio, fridge cannot be used; activities after dark can be only performed if there is enough money to buy lighting devices (candles), dangerous because of thieves, no adequate light, need to use firewood (smoke)
  • Criteria of choice of lighting types are: Affordability, safety, light intensity, health, value for money, durability, quality, familiarity.
  • Key factors of an ideal lighting product are: Solar charged, adequate light intensity, portable, easy to use, light in weight, rechargeable battery, switch with different steps of light intensity, no smoke, small size but strong.
  • The ideal lighting device is described as "a “familiar” lighting device with adequate lighting intensity to illuminate the whole room, it is safe and doesn’t have any running costs."[17] (p. 38)
  • Participants like: strong light intensity, simultaneous and independent use in different rooms (twin lamps), radio function, portability, ease of use, regulator to adjust light intensity, modern image, multipurpose (lamp and torch), no smoke, black, red and white color, safety of use.
  • Participants dislike: short cables, small labels, label in foreign language, small lamps and small panels, no possibility to stand, many cables, short life-span of battery.
  • lamps must have the following features in order to be successful: Adequate light intensity, no running cost, multipurpose (use lamps as torch or lantern in different rooms), long life-span of battery, lamp stand, portability.

Further Information


  1. Solar Energy Foundation. 2010. Sun connect. What? Why? Wow! – Understanding consumers’ needs
  2. Lighting Africa. 2008. Market Research. (
  3. 3.0 3.1 Lighting Africa. 2009. Lighting Devices Test Results. Ethiopia Results Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "E3" defined multiple times with different content
  4. International Finance Corporation – The World Bank. 2008. Ethiopia - Qualitative Off-Grid Lighting Market Assessment
  5. International Finance Corporation – The World Bank. 2008. Lighting Africa Market Assessment Results Quantitative Assessment - Ethiopia
  6. Lighting Africa. 2008. Ghana Qualitative Off-Grid Lighting Market Assessment
  7. Lighting Africa. 2008. Lighting Africa Market Assessment Results Quantitative Assessment - GHANA
  8. International Finance Corporation - The World Bank. 2009. Lighting Devices Test Results. Ghana Results
  9. International Finance Cooperation - The World Bank. 2008. Kenya Qualitative Off-Grid Lighting Market Assessment
  10. International Finance Corporation - The World Bank. 2008. Lighting Africa Market Assessment Results Quantitative Assessment - KENYA
  11. International Finance Corporation - The World Bank. 2009. Lighting Devices Test Results. Kenya Results.
  12. 12.0 12.1 International Finance Corporation - The World Bank. 2008 Tanzania Qualitative Off-Grid Lighting Market Assessment Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "T1" defined multiple times with different content
  13. International Finance Corporation - The World Bank. 2008. Lighting Africa Market Assessment Results Quantitative Assessment - TANZANIA
  14. International Finance Corporation - The World Bank. 2009. Lighting Devices Test Results. Tanzania Results
  15. Lighting Africa. 2008.Zambia.Qualitative Off-Grid Lighting Market Assessment.
  16. Lighting Africa.2008.Lighting Africa Market Assessment Results Quantitative Assessment - ZAMBIA
  17. 17.0 17.1 Lighting Africa. 2009. Lighting Devices Test Results. Zambia Results Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Za" defined multiple times with different content