Frequently Asked Questions
Does Lighting Global manufacture, sell, or distribute off-grid lighting products?
Lighting Global, Lighting Africa, Lighting Asia and related country lighting programs do not design, manufacture, or distribute off-grid lighting products. Instead, Lighting Global provides broad support to the market through the internationally-recognized quality assurance program, technical and environmental sustainability research relating to off-grid lighting, and information dissemination through technical notes, webinars and conferences. The region-specific programs, such as Lighting Africa and Lighting Asia, operate to catalyze and accelerate the development of sustainable markets for good-quality, affordable off-grid lighting products in specific countries.
Lighting Global has a quality assurance program to test off-grid lighting products and provide business support to companies who sell products that meet our Quality Standards. The list of products on the products pages are all products that have been tested and found to meet our Quality Standards. By clicking on an individual product, you can download a Specs Sheet and Verification Letter.
Please contact at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to consider testing your products to ensure they meet the quality standard. To explore the benefits of testing, see the questions below.
Does Lighting Global provide financing or grants directly to manufacturers, distributors or related companies?
Lighting Global, Lighting Africa, Lighting Asia and related programs do not provide funding, grants, debt, equity or any other forms of financing directly to companies or individuals.
Lighting Global’s aim is to facilitate funding for companies. For example, IFC was the anchor investor in the responsAbility Energy Access Fund, a $34 million structured debt fund, that provides working capital debt financing to manufacturers and distributors of off-grid lighting solutions in Africa and Asia. By unlocking debt, these companies will be able to invest in their stock, accelerate distribution, and better reach their last mile customers while being able to plan strategically for the future. This, in turn, will lead to local retail banks recognizing the opportunity without taking the first mover risk.
What is the Quality Test Method (“QTM”)?
Lighting Global’s most comprehensive testing methodology, used to qualify products for program support, and generate Standardized Specifications Sheets (SSS) and Verification Letters. QTM test results are based on randomly-selected samples, use a sample size of six (n=6), and are valid for 2 years from the month the manufacturer is sent the results. The QTM is described in IEC/TS 62257-9-5 and the Lighting Global Solar Home System Kit Quality Assurance Protocols.
What is the Initial Screening Method (“ISM”)?
An abbreviated, low-cost version of the QTM, used to provide rapid feedback on product quality and performance and evaluate a product’s likelihood of passing the QTM. ISM test results are based on manufacturer-supplied samples. The ISM is described in IEC/TS 62257-9-5 and the Lighting Global Solar Home System Kit Quality Assurance Protocols.
What is the Market Check Method (“MCM”)?
Market Check Testing is used for random quality checks and updates to products receiving program support. Market Check Test results are based on samples that are procured by agents of Lighting Global from the distribution supply chain (e.g. through purchase from a retail outlet) without prior notice. See the Market Check Testing Policy for additional details. The MCM is described in IEC/TS 62257-9-5 and the Lighting Global Solar Home System Kit Quality Assurance Protocols.
What is the Accelerated Verification Method (“AVM”)?
The AVM is an alternative quality verification pathway that is faster than the standard QTM pathway. Eligibility to use the AVM is based on a manufacturer’s strong history of success with the Lighting Global Quality Assurance program. The AVM shortens testing time by reducing the number of samples and eliminating the random sampling requirement for verification entry testing. The method maintains the rigor expected of the Lighting Global QA program by performing follow-up QTM Tests on all products verified through this process. See the Lighting Global Accelerated Verification Method Policy for full details.
What is the Associate Renewal Testing (“AR”)?
Associate Renewal testing is conducted to renew a product’s QTM Test results and maintain its program status two years after the Standardized Specification Sheet and Verification Letter were issued. Products that have not changed may be renewed using a two-sample ISM Test (note that the product samples for these tests must be collected by an agent of Lighting Global as per our sample collection procedures), while products which have been updated may require QTM testing. See the Lighting Global Policy for Renewing Test Results for full details.
What are the Quality Standards?
The Lighting Global Quality Standards set a baseline level of quality, durability, and truth-in-advertising to protect consumers. The Quality Standards are used as entry criteria for Lighting Global and other market support programs. Under Lighting Global, products that meet the Quality Standards are eligible to receive a Standardized Specifications Sheet and Verification Letter, and be included in website listings.
What are the Standardized Specifications Sheets?
A Standardized Specification Sheet is an easy-to-read summary of the QTM results. Standardized Specification Sheets are posted to the Lighting Global products page, thereby providing a reliable and independent source of information about product quality and performance.
What are Verification Letters?
A Verification Letter officially states that a product has met the Quality Standards and that the testing results are valid for two years. The verification letter may be used by some programs and customs officials as an entrance requirement. Verification Letters are posted to the Lighting Global products page, which serves as the official site to confirm that a product is supported by the Lighting Global program.
What is the IEC Technical Specification 62257-9-5?
In April 2013 the Lighting Global Quality Test Method procedures were institutionalized through the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) as IEC Technical Specification 62257-9-5. The document can be purchased from the IEC Webstore. This and other key IEC documents for rural electrification are currently available at a discount for qualified stakeholders.
What are “Associates” in the context of Lighting Global and related programs?
Lighting Global program and its regional affiliate programs work to build markets capable of bringing high quality, affordable modern off-grid lighting products to off-grid consumers. Supporting client companies to expand markets for their quality-verified products is a cornerstone of this work. Client companies become our Program Associates after one or more of their products meet the Lighting Global Quality Standards and the company passes our due diligence screening.
There are two categories of Associates: developers/manufacturers of products that have passed the Lighting Global Quality Standards and distributors of these products. Associates receive global and country-based Associate Services including privileged access to market intelligence reports, business to business linkages, facilitation of access to finance, participation in consumer education campaigns and general business development support.
Visit our product testing pathway to learn more about submitting products for quality verification, and how to become an Associate.
What are the benefits of Associate status?
By becoming an Associate, an off-grid lighting product manufacturer or distributor will be eligible to receive business development support (BDS) through the regional lighting programs, such as Lighting Africa, Lighting Asia and Lighting Pacific. Each of these programs will offer different services and services may vary by individual country as well. Support may include help with entry into new markets, access to financing, business advising, assistance with finding distribution partners and B2B matchmaking.
Are all companies with products that meet the Quality Standards considered Associates?
No, companies must apply for Associate status separately. Once a company has at least one product that has met the Lighting Global Quality Standards, they may then apply to become a Lighting Global Associate. Companies may also apply to become Associates of the regional lighting programs. Note that to qualify for Associate status, a company must meet additional requirements and pass a World Bank Group business screening and due diligence check.