What solar lighting would be suitable for internally displaced people in Kenya?
This is a question that I've been asked in the field so I wanted to share it with everyone on KnowledgePoint
This is dependent on a number of factors.
Solar lighting systems come in a variety of sizes from small solar lanterns to larger solar home systems. All of them require direct sunlight falling on a photovoltaic module to charge a battery in the day time so that this stored solar energy can be used at night. Some systems also allow for the charging of small devices such as mobile phones or may even incorporate a radio. The key to whether solar lighting is suitable is the solar resource. Firstly, there must be enough sunlight or, as it is known, irradiance. Fortunately there are a number of maps and databases that can help. For example, http://solargis.com/products/maps-and... provides free solar maps of regions and countries including Kenya. Being on the equator, Kenya has very good irradiance levels. On top of this you need to think about the specific location. As the solar lamp requires sunlight falling on its photovoltaic module during the day shading, such as under trees, needs to be avoided. It is important to think about the needs of the end users. Small solar lighting devices such as solar lanterns can provide enough light to see or for reading e.g. http://www.dlight.com/solar-lighting-... . This is fine, but if people want to do activities in the evening such as sewing or other work they are going to need more light. Furthermore, larger solar home systems include mobile phone charging to enable displaced people to stay in contact with family and friends e.g http://www.fosera.com/products/power-... These are just illustrative examples and are no way endorsed by the author. It is however essential that the solar lighting products have been tested and approved. A good scheme is the World Bank Lighting Africa programme which has approved a range of solar lighting systems https://www.lightingafrica.org/ It also helps if the selected systems can be purchased in Kenya.
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