Impact Assessment:
Light Up The Philippines - Phase One

Jun 2012
Emily McQualter

By Emily McQualter
Technology Monitoring Fellow

The project:
Light up The Philippines Phase One
Technologies used:
d.light S10 Solar lantern, d.light S250 Solar lantern
Local partner:
Gelacio I. Yason Foundation Family Farm School

We connected 404 d.light solar lanterns with some of the poorest communities in Oriental Mindoro, in the rural Philippines, working with our local partner, the Gelacio I. Yason Foundation Family Farm School Inc (GIYF-FFS). In this region, 80 percent of households have no access to electricity. These off-grid communities are keen to switch from kerosene and candles to a brighter, cheaper, and cleaner light source. In towns the electricity supply is expensive and unreliable, further driving demand for solar lights.

GIYF-FFS received the solar lights in March and April 2012, and sold them through their office, sales agents, product stalls, and the Family Visit Program. Customers were given the option to pay in instalments, but all opted to pay in full at the time of purchase. GIYF-FFS staff who bought solar lights could elect to deduct instalments from their salary.

The impact assessment was conducted by our Kopernik Fellow, Emily McQualter over a week’s visit in June 2012. At that time, 165 d.light solar lanterns had been sold. Of the 82 people surveyed, 25 lived in off-grid households.

The solar lanterns have made an immediate and tangible impact on people’s lives. Of the people surveyed, 82 percent use the solar light every day, and a further 9 percent say they use it almost every day.

In households without access to electricity:

  • 80 percent have stopped using kerosene for lighting, while the other 20 percent only use a kerosene lamp to supplement their solar light, and
  • People have reduced their spending on lighting fuel by more than 50 percent on average.

In households with access to electricity:

  • Solar lights have completely replaced kerosene, candles and flashlights as the primary back-up lighting source, and
  • People are saving an average of US$13.11 a month on electricity, kerosene and candles.

Across all households, the d.lights have prompted greater productivity at night, particularly in off-grid communities. They allowed income generating activities to continue at night, as well as the opportunity for children to study at night, resulting in overall improved grades and school performance. They are safer, as the reduced use of kerosene and candles has reduced the risk of fire.

Overall, customers were very satisfied with their d.light purchase. 

In order to continue the effectiveness of the d.light, it is recommended that future projects:

  • Offer a price discount to off-grid communities. The assessment shows the d.light may be too expensive for the average off-grid income bracket.
  • Continue to expand into more remote communities. The d.light has the greatest impact in off-grid households.
Full report: