Philips announces new initiative to provide solar powered LED lighting for 100 small soccer pitches or "light centers" for rural communities across Africa

August 17, 2012

  • New technology breakthrough will enable evening sport, education, healthcare and commerce for 2 million Africans who live without electricity. 
  • Program also serves as a powerful example of business commitment to UN Secretary-General’s “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative.


Cape Town, South Africa - Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG; AEX: PHI) has launched a new initiative, which will see the installation of 100 “light centers” across rural Africa by 2015. These are areas of approx 1000m2, or the size of a small soccer pitch, which are lit using a new generation of highly efficient solar powered LED lighting. The idea is to create areas of light for rural communities which live without electricity thus effectively ‘extending the day’ and creating numerous opportunities for social and economic activities in the evening.



Philips made this announcement at the concluding leg of its third consecutive Cairo to Cape Town road show 2012, which has focused on topics relating to key challenges facing Africa and how new innovations can address these: Mother and Child Care, energy efficient LED and solar lighting solutions.


The light centers, the first 40 of which are scheduled for installation in late 2012, will be focused on schools which are closely linked to villages and towns in off-grid or semi-grid areas (this can also include parts of cities). They will provide communal areas which can be used for sport and many other activities – healthcare, education, social, and commerce.  They will extend the day by enabling communal life after dark, create safe areas and support sanitation.


Philips has committed an investment of Euro 1.2 million (spread over three years) to this project.  Maintenance would be self-sustaining as local authority/owners can rent out the light or advertising space and generate an income. An announcement on which sites and in which countries the light centers will be installed will follow by October 2012.


Philips has already completed installing light centers in a number of African countries (Egypt, Morocco, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa ) during its Cairo to Cape Town road show 2012. The setup includes four 8m poles fixed in the ground and hoisting four LED lights which consume less power than a 60w light bulb and provide around 20 lux of cold white light across an area of 1000m2. Philips has been working on this development for a couple of years. In November 2009 the company enabled the World’s first soccer game to be played under solar powered LED floodlighting in Nairobi, Kenya.


“Local reactions have been extremely positive”, says Garrett Forde, President, Philips Lighting, Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Philips’ aim is to create awareness for what is now possible. We are introducing the first generation of solar powered LED lighting solutions which can provide high quality, sustainable and reliable lighting for off-grid communities in Africa; indeed the world. It is now a question of how much the world is willing to invest”     


The new light center initiative also serves as a commitment to action by Philips in support of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative.  This initiative has one goal, sustainable energy for all, and three complimentary objectives, all to be achieved by 2030;
1) Ensure universal access to modern energy services,
2) Double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and,
3) Double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.


“Philips is to be commended for this innovative new initiative”, said Kandeh Yumkella, Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organization and Co-chair of the High-level Group on Sustainable Energy for All. “Sustainable energy for all is about opportunity - opportunities to learn and live healthy and productive lives. The private sector plays a key role in the implementation of this initiative, and Philips’ work will help us achieve our goal of sustainable energy for all by 2030.”


Some 1.6 billion people worldwide have no access to electricity. At the same time for people living near the equator, darkness falls around 7pm all year round, slowing down or completely stopping many vital tasks. Philips’ aim is to simply enhance life with light.


The Philips Cairo to Cape Town road show 2012 started in Cairo on May 14th and has made its way across eleven countries and seventeen cities in Africa. During the road show, in addition to showcasing its new innovations, Philips has engaged with customers, governments, NGOs and media on topics relating to key challenges facing Africa today.


For more information please follow the Cairo to Cape Town road show on:

For further information, please contact:

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


About Royal Philips Electronics

Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation in the areas of Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and Lighting. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips posted 2011 sales of EUR 22.6 billion and employs approximately 122,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. The company is a leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as male shaving and grooming, portable entertainment and oral healthcare. News from Philips is located at