LED Lighting Africa

Student research assistant Patricia Lai demonstrates the “multiplane distribution” test method that was developed at SERC and allows low-cost measurement of luminous flux. Photo credit Kellie Jo Brown.

Student research assistant Patricia Lai demonstrates the “multiplane distribution” test method that was developed at SERC and allows low-cost measurement of luminous flux. Photo credit Kellie Jo Brown.

Here at SERC we are continuing our work supporting the Lighting Africa program, a joint IFC-World Bank initiative to catalyze markets for good quality off-grid lighting in the developing world. Over the last year, SERC has played a key role coordinating the Quality Assurance portion of the program, including generating and interpreting product test results, writing test methods, meeting with international policy-makers, and too many other tasks to list here. Some key breakthroughs and activities over the last few months have been:

  •  Developing a new method for measuring total lumen output for lighting devices that only requires $2,000 in equipment – compared to the $30,000 often required for the necessary hardware. This will allow startup manufacturers and low-budget laboratories (like the ones in some developing countries) to measure the true light output of their devices without needing to send them out for expensive testing.
  • Contributing to the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change “Small-scale methodology AMS-III.AR,” which allows off-grid lighting systems to receive credit for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helps reduce the up front cost of improved lighting to end-users.
  • Traveling to Munich and Nairobi to meet with policymakers and representatives from other international programs and harmonize their activities with the Lighting Africa Quality Assurance framework, which is becoming a global model in the off-grid lighting world.

As we enjoy these long summer days, our SERC Lighting Lab team is continuing our work to ensure that people in developing countries have cleaner, better, and more economical options for lighting up the night.

We also wish Chris Carlsen, a graduating masters student, a good journey; he is moving to Dakar, Senegal to work as a consultant to the Lighting Africa program in West Africa. He joins Jenny Tracy, another SERC alum, who is based in East Africa with the Lighting Africa program.