The surprise was finding that people dependent on candles, batteries, kerosene and fuel for generators in countries without a secure supply of electricity spend more on power than solar options.
The founders of Dutch company Lumos knew they could do better. In Nigeria, for the cost of powering a small generator for two hours they offer enough solar power to light a house, cool a room with a fan and charge cell phones for about eight hours. Customers can even watch TV for a few hours.
For Nigerian government clerk Sandra Besong, it means her three children aged 8 to 17 can study and read at night.
“Before, I was using a local lamp with kerosene, but the flame wasn’t bright enough for the children to read,” she said in a telephone interview from her home in Masaka, in central Nasarawa state.
“We love the light!” she said. “The children appreciate it because they can read, watch…