LED Technology for Off-Grid Lighting in Africa

Article written by Arne Jacobson

Testing off grid lighting projects

Graduate Students Ranjit Deshmukh and Stephen Kullmann and Professor Arne Jacobson measuring LED lighting performance at SERC. (Photo Credit Kellie Brown)

Battery powered lanterns that use white LED technology are emerging as a potential substitute for kerosene lighting in unelectrified areas of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Dozens of LED-based off-grid lighting products are now available, with most selling at prices ranging from $2 to $60 per unit.

Over the past two years, SERC has been involved in research related to the quality, performance, economics, and end-uses of LED lights. The effort, dubbed the Lumina Project, is a collaboration headed by Evan Mills of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and Arne Jacobson of SERC. The work is funded by Richard C. Blum Center for Developing Economies through a donation from Art Rosenfeld. To date, the research has included laboratory testing of existing LED lighting products, as well as fieldwork in Kenya.

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