Dutch electronics giant, Philips, and a leading Ghanaian NGO, Kite, have teamed up to test and develop the introduction of
a new generation low-cost sustainable lighting products in Ghana.
A statement issued by Philips in Accra on Thursday said this was part of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement between Philips and the Dutch government relating to 10 sub-Saharan Africa countries.
The statement said Mr. Frank O. Atta-Owusu, Kite Manager, was responsible for the project and very much involved in establishing the best ways of bringing the new lighting products to many people in Ghana who need it.
“We have a policy”, he said, “to be the best development intermediary organization, bringing together financiers, the supply chain, producers and products to facilitate as smooth an operation as possible. We are not commercial, but provide capacity to bring new technologies and products to suitable projects and needy people by providing suitable information to vendors and end-users.”
The statement said these new products were far more efficient than similar products on the market, and would certainly make people's lives better by improving health and safety, assist in education and economic activities at night.
“Even grid-connected homes can benefit, because Ghana's electricity grid is current very unreliable.
“However, our initial target is quite low – a realistic 14,000 lanterns, for example, in the first two years. The limitation is price, but we expect a payback of 3-6 months, which will mitigate this, and it must be remembered that users of these lighting products will no longer need to buy kerosene.”
The statement said Kite's capability has been established through a broad range of projects and programme experiences, partnerships with key national and international actors and the development of internal management, governance and reporting capabilities.
“This means that the organisation is in an excellent position to deliver Philips' low cost sustainable lighting products to the people that need them, all with the right service and back-up to make the scheme as effective as possible. As part of the overall plan, Kite will also be involved in helping set up a waste disposal and recycling facilities for the lamps' batteries, which needs replacing from time to time.”
Mr Atta–Owusu said they believed that everybody in Ghana should have light but while 54%-56% of the people had access to electricity, most did not have a connection to their homes.
In addition, he said, 80% in rural areas had no electricity at all.
The statement noted that when darkness comes children could not easily do their homework; business and other economic activities could not be carried out, unless it was by candlelight or the light of a kerosene lamp.
It said one of Kite's objectives was to deploy sustainable energy systems and services in rural and semi-urban communities using appropriate, clean and efficient, new and emerging technologies.
The new Philips products include a portable lantern which provides bright white light where it is needed, the Dynamo Multi LED self-powered (wind-up) flashlight that provides 17 minutes of light from two minutes hand winding, and the “My Reading Light”, which is a solar-powered reading light with built-in rechargeable battery.
In addition, there is the Home or Small Business Lighting System, which provides low-cost light for homes and small businesses. Some of the new lighting has already been tested in a pilot project in Ghana.