Country Data: Overview > Country Reports > Methodology

The UNEP/GEF en.lighten off-grid lighting market model estimates the fuel-based off-grid lighting energy consumption and savings potential from switching to solar LED systems on a one-for-one replacement basis. The model attempts to quantify the savings potential and benefits for 80 countries around the world as their markets leap-frog from fuel-based lighting to efficient solar-LED solutions. The model is based on electrification rates and population demographics, and assigns off-grid technology mixes on a per-person basis based on a small collection of in-depth country studies.

Following is more detail on the methodology utilised in Version 1.0 of the energy-use estimates.  Reviewers are invited to comment below with suggestions for improvement, including supporting documentation (reports, spreadsheets, links, etc.) wherever possible.

The countries included in this first model are those with electrification rates less than 90% and a total population greater than 500,000. In addition, country reports were developed for Brazil, China, Mexico, the Philippines, Ukraine and Vietnam because although these countries have electrification rates higher than 90%, they also have a large population base so there are a large number of off-grid households.

The key inputs to the model are discussed below:

Population data - the population estimates are for the year 2010 and are taken from the World Bank Data Catalog, visited October 2012.

Household size - The average household size (i.e., number of people per household) is estimated from data published by the Worldmapper Project, a collaborative effort of the University of Sheffield and the University of Michigan.  These estimates are used to determine the number of households that are off-grid. It enables the easy conversion between the units of per person and per household, and for assessment of the 'reasonableness' of resultant estimates.

Electrification rate - The electrification rates are for 2010 and are taken from the World Bank Data Catalog, visited October 2012 and the International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook 2010. These data are supplemented with recent, reliable input from industry and national surveys. The electrification rate is used to determine whether a country is included in the study and (with the population data) to ascertain the number of people living off-grid in a particular country.

Kerosene prices - the kerosene prices used in the model are meant to represent national average end-user prices. For government subsidized kerosene (as in India), the subsidy portion is not accounted for in the model or the financial benefits calculation, however it will be calculated and reported in the revised version of the model (v.2).  Kerosene prices are gathered from numerous sources, including the Lighting Asia Report: Bottom of the Pyramid, the GTZ 2009 Regional Report, UNEP internal sources and national surveys. For countries where there no data is available on kerosene prices, a universal price of US$1.00 per litre is used. The model also considers a high-kerosene price scenario, meant to be representative of rural markets or others with distribution challenges that can increase price.  For this sensitivity, a 35% increase over the reference price is applied.  Results are therefore presented as a range, from the reference price to the high-price sensitivity.

Operating hours - the model estimates daily average operating hours for the lamps being used in domestic and small commercial applications. For the domestic sector (i.e., households), it is assumed that the average operating hours varies with the number of light points per household. As more light points become available, each light point on average will have lower operating hours. The range of operating hours was established after reviewing studies by Lighting Africa and other experts / organisations, quantifying the operating hours per day. The shape of the curve is defined by an S-curve function, with around 4.4 hours/day for households with one lamp and 3.0 hours/day for households with ten lamps.  The shape of the curve is given below, and the operating hours used for each country are presented in the country reports.

For the commercial sector, it is assumed that lamps operate 4 hours per day.

Lighting equipment - due to a lack of country-level data regarding critical inputs such as the lighting technology mix and luminaire prices, the countries modeled have been clustered into five country groups, based around per capita purchasing power parity adjusted gross domestic product (PPP-GDP), and numbers of off-grid population for the five countries that has data available. The clusters of countries were then revised based on any available country-level data (e.g., learning that candles are in common use).  The table below presents lighting equipment mix percentages assigned to each of the five groups.  The source for these estimates is Lighting Africa.

Light points per person (consumer segment only) - the number of light points per person living in the household for the five African countries is calculated using data from Lighting Africa study. The lamps per room is first calculated using the average lamps per room of a specified technology and the share of the technology of the household lighting. Rooms per household and person per household are then used to get the lighting points per person. The resultant number of light points per person is given for each of the five groups:  Ethiopia 0.56 lamps/person; Ghana 0.88 lamps/person; Kenya 0.70 lamps/person; Tanzania 0.65 lamps/person; and Zambia 0.85 lamps/person.

Lighting equipment prices - estimates of the end-user retail prices (in USD) for lighting equipment for seven different off-grid lighting technologies were prepared, based on Lighting Africa data from the detailed studies of five African countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia) as well as other sources. These prices are only used for the pay-back period analysis and are not part of the total cost of lighting services calculation. The off-grid technologies are: kerosene with glass cover, kerosene with a simple wick, torch, a battery-powered light bulb on a wire, candles, and two solar LED lanterns - small and large. All of these prices are presented in the country reports, and are meant to represent national average retail prices.

Note that biomass fuels are currently not accounted for, but will be in revised edition of the model.

Fractional displacement of fuel by off-grid electric lighting - the model works by calculating the current consumption of kerosene, batteries and candles at a household level, and then substituting a solar LED lamp to replace each of those light points.  In calculating costs, payback periods and CO2 reductions, this model is a one-for-one replacement assumption, and does not take into account the possibility of the fuel-based light source continuing to be used elsewhere in the household (note: where data are available on this effect, it would be most welcome). Thus, the savings estimates should be regarded as a technical potential, contingent on the efficacy of the underlying technologies as well as policies and deployment programmes.

Data gaps - the model does not take into account any of the public health costs associated with fuel-based lighting, such as poisonings, burns, explosions, house-fires, respiratory disease and so on. Any data or estimates on the frequency of this on a household basis per year or a fuel consumption basis per annum would be welcome.  In addition, the model calculates the CO2 savings potential as an indicator of the benefits mitigating climate change, but the model does not yet incorporate the heat-adsorbing effect of black carbon (i.e., soot), which will be included in the revised edition of the model (v.2).

References used for this model

  • Adkins, Edwin, Sandy Eapen, Guatam Nair and Vijay Modi. 2010. Off-grid energy services for the poor: Introducing LED lighting in the Millennium Villages Project in Malawi Energy Policy Journal.
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. 2011. Solar Lamps Field Test Uganda, Final Report.
  • Dorling et al., The Worldmapper, University of Sheffield and University of Michigan, accessed September 2012,
  • Electrification level: Access to electricity (% of population, 2009). World Bank. Accessed September 2012 from:
  • Hamins, Anthony, Matthew Bundy and Scott E. Dillon. 2005. Characterization of candle flames. Journal of Fire Protection Engineering. Vol 15, Nov 2005.
  • International Finance Corporation and World Bank. 2010. Solar Lighting for the Base of the Pyramid: Overview of an Emerging Market. July 2010.
  • International Finance Corporation and World Bank. 2011. The Off-Grid Lighting Market in Sub-Saharan Africa: Market Research Synthesis Report. February, 2011.
  • International Finance Corporation. 2012. Lighting Asia: Solar Off-Grid Lighting Market analysis of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Philippines—Final Report. 2012.
  • IPCC, 2006. 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, Chapter 5: Non-Energy Products from Fuels and Solvent Use.
  • Mahapatra, Sadhan, H.N. Chanakya and S. Dasappa. 2009. Carbon emissions rate of candles: Evaluation of various energy devices for domestic lighting in India—Technology, economics and CO2 emissions. Energy for Sustainable Development, Vol 13, Issue 4, Dec 2009, 271–279.
  • Mills, Evan. 2002. The $230-billion Global Lighting Energy Bill.  International Association for Energy-Efficient Lighting (newsletter), June, 2002.
  • Mills, Evan. 2003. Technical and Economic Performance Analysis of Kerosene Lamps Alternative Approaches to Illumination in Developing Countries, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 2003.
  • Mills, Evan. 2005. The Specter of Fuel-Based Lighting. Science, Volume 308. 27 May 2005.
  • National Electrical Manufacturers Association. 2011. Life Cycle Impacts of Alkaline Batteries with a Focus on End-of-Life.  February 2011.
  • Population estimates use year 2010: The World Bank Data Catalogue. Accessed October 2012 from:
  • U.S. International Trade Commission, 2010.  Petroleum Wax Candles from China, Investigation No. 731-TA-282 (Third Review). Publication 4207, December 2010.
  • Wei, Huang, 2012.  An overview of wax production, requirement and supply in the world market.  Liaoning Shihua University, Fushun, Liaoning, P.R. China, Eur. Chem. Bulletin 2012, 1(7), 266-268

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The attached new report contains interesting multi-year data on lighting fuel choices for multiple African countries.  Included are Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia.


Lots of useful data in this IFC report for India, Bangladesh, nepal, pakistan, indonesia, CaMBodia and philippines 




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