SolarAid release Guide on new solar light distribution model that reaches low income families
SolarAid have today released a Guide to a new solar light distribution model in rural Africa: The Light Library. This was a new model designed and delivered by SolarAid’s social enterprise SunnyMoney, funded by Lighting Africa - a World Bank/IFC joint initiative, and delivered in partnership with the Senegalese Rural Electrification Agency, and the Ministry of Education.
The Light Library is a donated set of pico-solar lights given to selected public schools in rural areas of Senegal to enable students to borrow the lights to study after dark. The model was designed as a direct response to requests for a distribution model for solar lights that offered exposure to, and built awareness of, pico-solar lights in order to help build trust and demand without undermining strategies to build a sustainable market for the sale of this technology. The objective of the model was to support market-building through overcoming two of the main barriers to uptake: lack of trust and awareness.
Nearly 5,000 solar lights were procured for the project, 58 schools selected and an estimated 55,000 people gained direct exposure to the solar lights through the Light Library project. There were other added benefits of the Light Library project, for example, increased community interaction with the school, including increased enrolment.
As a follow up to the Light Library model, SunnyMoney delivered its traditional sales campaign to assess change in demand/uptake and found that sales were dramatically higher in the Light Library schools at 35% of school population (=2,138 solar lights sold), than in control schools, although there was still high demand with 15% uptake (=966 lights sold) in just a few weeks. The Light Library model not only appears to have increased uptake through increased exposure, but also seems to have reduced the perception of risk; in Light Library schools the customers included more risk-averse, lower-income families.
The Guide shares information on the design and delivery of the model and the subsequent delivery of SunnyMoney’s traditional sales model. It shares the results of an evaluation as well as the lessons learned, challenges faced, and key issues addressed. The report then draws conclusions on the usefulness of the model in building a sustainable market for improved access to, and availability of, solar products, and offers guidance and recommendations for governments, private-sector, practitioners, policy-makers and donors considering using, implementing, promoting or funding the model.
SolarAid and SunnyMoney will make the tools and materials designed and developed for delivery of the Light Library model available for public use.
Please find the full guide here.