Enhancing Life with Light - How Solar LED Lighting Can Make a Difference

June 5, 2012

The Challenge

Some 1.6 billion people worldwide have no access to electricity. In Africa alone this figure stands at 500 million people. When looking at a map of the sky at night this can be seen by large parts of the world being in complete darkness, stopping many vital tasks taking place and communities gathering after a certain time, as well as impacting safety and security in public spaces.


Philips Mission

Philips has been working hard to find solutions to this problem. As a global leader in lighting, Philips is committed to driving innovation in off-grid solar powered LED road and area lighting solutions, to transform rural and urban life in areas of the world which do not have access to the electricity grid or where the grid is unreliable and unable to support increasing energy demands.  Through a number of breakthrough innovations in solar powered LED, Philips is helping to truly transform to enhance life in these areas, and make them safer and more productive. 


Philips Solar LED Lighting Solutions

Philips Solar Powered LED solutions have been designed to suit a wide variety of needs, based on geography and lighting levels required, and can be used for a variety of key applications including sports activities and events, roads and junctions, economic activities such as markets, construction work, as well as improving the overall security levels in areas. 


Focus markets for Philips solar LED street lighting solutions are Africa, South East Asia, China, India and North America.  Of all the markets, Philips believes the potential for solar LED lighting in Africa is greatest – due to the fact many rural areas don’t have access to the grid and where sun levels are high year-round.  For the other growth markets , Philips is focused on offering solar LED lighting as part of its complete lighting portfolio, and educating people about the power of solar LED lighting for certain applications – as well as solar LED sustainability benefits. 


Working in partnership

Philips’ partnership approach is key to realising the full potential of Solar LED and effective collaboration is essential to the continued delivery of meaningful solutions for communities world-wide.  Philips takes a longer term approach – looking beyond the initial cost of components and assessing the overall cost of lighting, running and maintaining a solar powered lighting solution for years to come. 


Philips works with Government organizations, municipalities, venture capitalists, and large non-Governmental organization, and some examples of organizations Philips has worked with in this space include the World Bank, Dutch Ministry of Overseas Development, NGO’s, ARTY, Project Hope, UNEP and the Climate Group.


In Africa for example, Philips is working with NGOs to educate local people about using solar LED lighting solutions, and driving economic ownership by ensuing they can be managed by locals so it is sustainable for the future. Previously lighting solutions funded by aid money have failed because they tried to copy Western Europe and North American solutions that were not right for this market. 


Examples Philips work

Some examples of the latest solar LED lighting solutions are:

  • Marrakech, Morocco: Philips Solar Gen 2 solution – the latest breakthrough in solar powered street lighting – Solar Gen 2 is the world’s most reliable, efficient and cost effective solar powered LED street lighting solution per km of road.  This new lighting offers a highly energy-efficient LED solution which is superior to any conventional lighting (cost and size of batteries can be reduced by as much as 50% compared to similar solutions) and allows lamp post spacing of 50 meters -  much wider than with other solutions, while complying with strict EU road lighting standards. Solar Gen 2 can be easily upgraded by replacing components such as LED light modules and drivers – so investment in this technology is future-proofed.  An example of this lighting in action is the first 500m of road that has been installed in Marrakech, Morocco, at the walking circuit at the Palmeraie.   
  • Manila, the Philippines: first-of-its-kind combined LED and solar lighting system in Manila halves previous electrical costs. The Boni Tunnel Efficient Lighting System marks the first time in the country that LEDs and solar panels have been integrated into one system that will enhance driver safety when using the 280-meter tunnel. The lighting system consists of Philips tubular LED lighting systems that are solar-powered by day and is powered by the Meralco power grid at night via a grid-interactive photovoltaic system. With the system in place, the City of Mandaluyong is poised to save up to 51% in electricity expenses every year.
  • Guiyang, China: the Guiyang municipal government of Guizhou Province finished the installation of 157 sets of Philips Aurora Solar Powered LED street lighting systems in total 15 villages of Huaxi District, Wudang District, Kaiyang County and Xiuwen County. The project also includes local training for maintenance and protection. All of the respondents in the research of the Guiyang project indicated that the solar driven LED road light brings safety to them. The project was made possible through a collaboration between The Climate Group (TCG), the One Foundation, and the “1000‐village Program” ‐ Philips Lighting. The aim of the 1,000 Villages Project is to explore effective policy measures and financial mechanism in rural areas.

For further information, please contact:

Nick Kelso
Senior Communications Manager Philips Lighting Africa
Telephone: +31 6 100 39 296

Yvette van Braam Morris
External Communications Director Philips Lighting
Telephone: + 31 652737440