Many turn to kerosene or paraffin oil. It is estimated that 88 billion liters of kerosene are burned purely for light. One liter of kerosene is estimated to produce 3kg CO2 when burnt.
Research has shown that basic oil lamps typically produce just 1% of the light of a 100W light bulb.
The best solar lamp among those tested was the Sun King, produced by an Indian company, Greenlight Planet. It was purchased off the shelf from an African supermarket for $24. The Sun King’s almost dazzling light was appreciated by users, as was its seemingly unbreakable design. The awkward-looking wire stand worked well. The lamp’s only drawback was that its solar panel is separate, rather than being built into the lamp.
Economist - the mobile phone has been quickly improving the lives of the world’s poorest people for the last decade.
The potential savings are huge. According to a recent study by the International Finance Corporation, an arm of the World Bank, $10 billion a year is spent on kerosene in sub-Saharan Africa alone to illuminate homes, workplaces and community areas. Globally, the figure has been put at $36 billion. Flexiway, an Australian-Argentine maker of solar lamps, found in its trials in Tanzania that households often spent more than 10% of their income on kerosene, and other studies have put the figure as high as 25%. And kerosene does not merely eat up household income that could be spent on other things. It is also dangerous. Kerosene lanterns, a century-old technology, are fire hazards. The wicks smoke, the glass cracks, and the light may be too weak to read by. The World Health Organisation says the fine particles in kerosene fumes cause chronic pulmonary disease. Burning kerosene also produces climate-changing carbon-dioxide emissions.
Demand for cheap, efficient lighting is only going to grow. Even in the best-case scenarios, the number of people without electricity will tick up to 1.5 billion by 2030, as population growth outstrips electrification. The rate of innovation in delivery models, technology and design, in both rich and poor countries, suggests a bright future for solar lamps—and a slow dimming of kerosene’s flame.