Friday, September 9, 2011

Solar Lanterns for Rural Areas: A Practical Approach to Brighter Homes in the Philippines


The Philippines is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. It is a developing country with its share of rural areas unreached by electricity. Absence of electricity is most visible at night when all you see in homes is a flicker of light. It makes life difficult for people in the area to pursue substantial activities after sundown. Students can not study well and parents can not work on business to make extra income.

Why off grid solar lantern is applicable and practical

The archipelagic land base of the country makes the problem difficult for grid electricity to light the rural areas. It is expensive to build and may not reach islands and distant communities.

Here are 7 reasons why solar lantern is applicable and practical:

1. The country is endowed with plenty of sunlight which is the fuel used in solar lanterns. It is free and will never run out of supply.
2. The solar lantern is affordable. Kenya sells it at US $ 35. Suppliers in India sell at US $ 16.There are prospects for arrangements with foreign companies to manufacture lanterns here.
3. It is durable. The LED (light emitting diode) lamp if used 4 to 5 hours each day can last up to approximately 10 years. In Kenya, 15,000 lanterns have been produced since 2004. They plan to increase this to 100,000 by 2015.
4. Financing may not be a problem because the acquisition cost is low.
5. Training of personnel to service broken down units may not be a hindrance because it is one simple unit that should be repaired.
6. It is convenient to use because it is light and can be transferred from one place to another.
7. It enjoys a tremendous advantage over kerosene fueled lamp (kerosene is expensive, unhealthy because of the fumes, a fire hazard because it emits open flame and inadequate to provide good light).

Problems that may be encountered and recommended solutions

1. Rural folks remain doubtful of the durability, economy and applicability of solar unless proven otherwise.
Proponents for adoption will have to show and convince the rural people the benefits of solar light. This will involve massive information dissemination and demonstration. Each target community will have demonstration lanterns to showcase the product. To them to see is to believe that solar light undoubtedly is beneficial and superior to kerosene lamps.
2. Rural people find the price high. Up front cost may not be affordable to some.
Partial subsidy or financing may be arranged with local foundation, local government or financial institutions. Manufacturers of solar lanterns in other countries might be encouraged to produce here to bring down the cost.
3. Rural users may have fears that there may not be qualified personnel to undertake repair if they encounter problems with their lantern.
Proponents will have to prepare for this and will have personnel undergo training to provide effective and efficient after sales service.

What can fast track solar lantern adoption?

1. Establishment of economic factors first.
a. Can the consumers afford the up front acquisition cost? This has to be determined because this will certainly be a constraint in adoption if they find it is expensive.
b. Availability of subsidy or financing will certainly be significant incentive ones solar lanterns are accepted by the people. Developed countries like Germany and US have proven this an effective adoptive measure.

2. Acceptability of the solar lantern to the rural folks is the final deciding factor for its adoption. These people will have to see that the gadget is truly useful to them. All aspects involving acceptability must be carefully studied. The economic factors can not negate this.

3. Availability of trained service personnel for after service sales is very important to guarantee sustainable use of the solar lantern.

4. Availability of supply of solar lanterns and materials for repair must be guaranteed. This gives the assurance that solar lanterns can easily be acquired and repaired when needed.

While we have discussed solar lanterns in the context of Philippine setting, the information is likewise useful to un-energized rural areas of other developing countries.

We invite you to visit our Informative Solar Article page for more practical tips, simplified application guide and established solar benefits.

Author’s Box
Jacinto Demonteverde, Jr., the owner, is a strong advocate of solar power adoption. He writes practical articles to keep established and prospective solar users well informed. Visit him at: You are welcome to republish or reprint this article free of charge provided the content remains unchanged including the Author’s Box. No permission is needed


  1. Now, who said that installing a
    home solar panelsare expensive? Well, solar panels really is a great alternative since there's no electric company has plan in reaching this rural place. Thanks for sharing.

  2. One of the most obvious reasons to invest in solar power is because it’s a renewable energy source. This means that we’re able to continually harvest the energy from the sun. Forever.

    Solar Las Vegas
    Solar Las Vegas

  3. Solar is definitely moving forward with huge advancements in on our home is a good way to help slow global warming.

    Solar Albuquerque
    Solar Albuquerque