MIT D-Lab Launches Online Resource Inspired by CITE's Solar Lantern Evaluation to Compare Solar Lighting Products

MIT D-Lab’s Off-Grid Energy Group has just launched an online resource, Solar Lighting Product Comparison, that will enable consumers and distributors to compare more than 55 products ranging from solar lanterns used for basic lighting needs to solar power and lighting systems with the capability to power appliances such as mobile phones, radios, fans, and TVs, in addition to providing lighting.

This new database combines technical specifications of high-quality solar lighting products and information on distributors that sell products in various countries throughout the developing world.

The system provides country-specific information sheets with key technical specifications of solar lighting products in a table format that makes comparison easy, and contact information for distributors that sell the products locally. The database includes information on more than 100 distributors operating in 47 countries, allowing consumers to determine which products are available and where they can purchase them.

Additionally, a full product comparison table is set up in a straightforward, sortable Google sheet that provides detailed information on model, manufacturer, price (in USD), lighting output, settings and runtime, battery and solar panel specifications, features and accessories, as well as information on the warranty and certifications for more than 55 products.

The resource draws upon information provided by Lighting Global, a World Bank Group platform, which provides basic information on solar lighting products that meet minimum quality standards, and is inspired by a solar lantern evaluation released by MIT’s Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation (CITE) in early 2015.

A recent MIT News article describes how D-Lab's Eric Verploegen was intrigued by the work coming out CITE after the January 2015 launch of the program's solar lantern evaluation in Uganda:

"CITE is pioneering a rigorous methodology for evaluation," Verploegen said. “What D-Lab’s Off-Grid Energy wanted to bring to the table was the rapid dissemination of comparable product specifications linked to geographically organized distributor contact information around the world.”

 

Date: 
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Author: 
Lauren McKown

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