What's New (for past accomplishments, go here)


Lumina Blog

We've launched a new blog. Check it out.

Clearing the Air

A new report presents the first-ever finely binned measurements of indoor air pollutants from fuel-based lanterns. The results add to the already compelling reasons to pursue alternatives.


Right Light?

A new report outlining a practical methodology for assessing the adequacy of illuminance levels in off-grid settings, applied to night market vendors.


Results of Market Trial in Kenya Rift Valley

A new report describes our market test in selling high-quality LED systems through traditional market channels. About 14% of shoppers purchased the lamps, reducing kerosene use by 86%. The report discusses product preferences and presents lessons learned for designing effective market trials.


Carbon Credits for Off-Grid Lighting

A new report, prepared at the request of the UNFCCC's Clean Development Mechanism points the way for improving the estimation of carbon reductions from off-grid LED lighting, while making the process less onerous and costly for project developers.


NEWS - SLED is launched

Copenhagen Climate Conference: U.S. Energy Secretary Chu announces Solar and LED Energy Access Program, part of $350M package

Market Test with Night Vendors in Kenya

In our pilot project in Kenya (summer 2008), we conducted short interviews with 50 vendors, made careful measurements of kerosene use in a subset of 23 different businesses. Over 50% of eligible night vendors chose to buy our off-grid LED lighting systems at market prices. They have thus far universally preferred grid-charged units to solar units, owing to the lower first cost (despite higher lifecycle costs). Participants are providing feedback about the economics and quality of the lights, and embedded monitors are providing data on patterns of use providing for more rigorous estimates of energy and carbon savings. [December 2008]

  • Initial Report [PDF]
  • Photo essay with testimonials from vendors. [PDF]
  • Follow-on research note evaluating the lighting levels at which users choose to recharge their lights (important implications for cost of ownership). [PDF]

Product Testing

In the laboratory, our most recent round of product testing (summer 2008) found that overall system efficacy varied from 8 to 53 lumens per watt across nine commercially available products we tested. Our additional tests of color quality, luminous intensity, luminance and glare showed similar degrees of variation. These results — combined with earlier measurements of other parameters — confirm the need for continued testing, feedback to manufacturers, and product labeling/rating. We are working towards an industry-based rating council and supporting activities. [December 2008]

  • Full report [PDF]

Indoor Pollution Measurements

In the most detailed tests of indoor pollutants from kerosene lanterns to date, we found that the 10-micron particulate matter concentrations due to emissions from simple kerosene wick lamps can exceed US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory thresholds by a factor of five in simulated night-market settings, while 2.5 micron particle concentrations for these conditions can exceed the standards by a factor of two. Concentrations are likely to be even higher in more enclosed spaces such as homes. Wick lamps are commonly used by many of the lowest income businesses and households in Sub Saharan Africa. Emissions from hurricane and pressure style lamps, which are commonly used by somewhat better-off businesses and households, lead to concentrations that are well below the EPA standards.

  • Full report [PDF]

Google Map of Projects Worldwide

We arebuilding a central repository of information on the growing number of efforts to deploy alternatives to fuel-based lighting in developing countries. The material is organized and shared via a navigable world map. We hope that this resource proves useful in expanding the network of people developing this domain, and helping us learn from each others' experiences in the field. Our technology emphasis is on stand-alone compact lighting systems (e.g. with LED sources) as opposed to village-scale electrification or larger solar home systems. [April 2008]

Product Directory

Many white-LED lighting products have come onto the market. This partial on-line product directory of commercially available products provides links to some of them. Some are tailored for developing country applications, while others are general consumer products that may be suitable for that purpose. Considerable innovation is underway in this area and new products are constantly appearing. [March 2007]