University of Nairobi conducts low cost tests for solar lamps

Importers and local distributors in East Africa are closer to getting a source of testing solar lanterns destined for their markets as the University of Nairobi has established a laboratory to test solar portable lights, using Lighting Africa initial screening method to distinguish between substandard and quality products. The laboratory will be conducting the tests as a commercial service.

This is the first laboratory of its kind, where local manufacturers and distributors of lighting products in Kenya and the East Africa region, as well as NGOs and government agencies can bring in their lamps for a quick screening that will be able to determine good quality products.

In the past, substandard solar lanterns have infiltrated the market, eroding consumer confidence in solar lighting technology. Consumers have fallen victim to overrated product claims and would purchase solar torches, task lamps or room lamps in an attempt to cut down on kerosene use, only to realize that the products do not live up to their expectations.

So far, the laboratory at the University of Nairobi has tested 49 products for system level performance, component performance, durability and manufacturing quality.

With a turnaround of four to six weeks, and a cost of approximately 750US$, Lighting Africa initial screening method is faster and cheaper than other methodologies to determine the potential of lighting products. Those products which pass this initial screening also become members of Lighting Africa and as a consequence stand to benefit from a range of business support services.

Three international laboratories in Germany, China and the United States are accredited to conduct the more extensive Quality Test Method.

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