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By JOHN SAKALA
The United Kingdom solar company’s Gold Standard-certified carbon-offsetting project makes solar lights truly affordable and will rollout mass deployment across Zambia.
Namene Solar today announced the certification of a new project in Zambia that unlocks the carbon value of a solar light to offer customers truly affordable high-quality solar lighting for the first time.
The lights will reach over 1.5 million people living in rural households, with no access to electricity, and will be financed by the sale of carbon credits.
Namene Solar will distribute their award-winning SM100 solar lights to rural homes and in collaboration with local schools across four provinces of Zambia: Western, Southern, Eastern and Lusaka.
Namene Solar Managing Director Patrick Lagrange said a clean solar light is life-changing in the hands of a rural family in Zambia.
“It’s more than just a source of light, it has many positive social impacts. These lights provide access to modern energy, cut carbon emissions from kerosene lamps and unlock extra study hours for children to safely do homework after dark. They prevent toxic fumes that are harmful to health and eliminate the dangers of open flame lighting. That’s why Namene Solar is committed to bringing affordable, clean, safe solar light wherever it is needed.”
Namene Solar’s new project is the first Gold Standard-certified solar project in Zambia. In total 652,000 solar lights will be distributed, benefiting 1.5 million people – 9% of the total population of Zambia. The project saves households more than $150 USD, and each light avoids 92kg in carbon emissions every year.
The project directly contributes to several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including SDG1: no poverty; SDG7: universal clean energy and SDG13 climate action. The solar lights also have multiple, immediate benefits for users which include improving education outcomes and reducing health risks associated with kerosene lamps.
The Gold Standard-certification comes one year after Namene Solar was awarded a British Award for African Development for Innovative Business Model of the Year.
And British High Commission in Lusaka have welcomed the announcement by London-based firm Namene Solar that they plan to deploy over US$3m of private sector investment in solar lighting in Zambia over the coming years, funded by an innovative new climate financing mechanism certified by Gold Standard.
By using the sale of so-called “carbon credits” on international markets it allows Namene Solar to provide the solar lamps at a heavily discounted price in Zambia – replacing the use of damaging and costly kerosene lamps, candles, batteries and firewood. According to calculations by the company, in total it could save Zambian households up to US$30m over five years and reduce carbon emissions in Zambia by up to 60,000 tonnes a year.
This new investment also opens the door for Namene Solar to use Zambia as a base for accessing the wider region. This would be in line with the UK’s ambition for companies to use Zambia as a stepping-stone into the Southern Africa market. Namene Solar have already set up a local office in Lusaka to support the current product deployment.
Last year, Namene Solar were awarded a British Award for African Development for “Innovative Business Model of the Year”.
Next year, the UK will host heads of state, climate experts and campaigners at COP26 in Glasgow, to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change. Zambia has heavily been impacted by climate change in recent years and the use of climate finance to improve livelihoods, support preservation of the natural environment and incentivise investment in innovative new climate products, will all be key themes of next year’s event.
Nicholas Woolley, British High Commissioner, said:
“The future of our mutual prosperity is based on countries working together to create trading opportunities and collaborate on fixing many of todays development and climate challenges. I am delighted that a UK firm, Namene Solar, are using UK design expertise and technology, combined with an innovative climate finance model, to help deliver higher quality solar products for millions of people in Zambia. I also look forward to seeing them grow across the wider region and serve many millions more”
And Steve Beel, Development Director at the British High Commission added:
“The UK has been one of the strongest supporters of the off-grid solar industry in Zambia for several years. We have supported many of the upcoming companies that are delivering new products that benefit many of the most vulnerable households, as well as creating new employment opportunities in communities across the country. Together with our support for the Offgrid Task Force led by the Ministry of Energy, and our partnership with Government on the Energy Africa Compact, we are aiming to support Zambia in facilitating increased access to affordable energy services for the entire population. This latest announcement by UK Company Namene Solar, is a significant step in delivering that ambition.”