Apply to Test your Solar Home System Kit

Over the next year, Lighting Global and the regional programs (Lighting Africa and Lighting Asia) will begin to extend support to “plug-and-play” direct current (DC) solar home system kits.

An early step in this process is exploring and piloting a variety of test methods for these larger (greater than 10 W) systems. In this first round of testing we will test up to five products. We plan to organize another round of testing in eight to ten months time, and hope to have a full quality assurance framework in place soon after.

To apply for testing, please complete this application form prior to September 15 September 22, 2014. (Note, the due date to apply for testing has been extended by one week to allow manufacturers to participate in the webinar prior to submitting an application). On the next business day, you will receive an email acknowledging that we have received your application.

With support from the Africa Renewable Energy Access Program at the World Bank, this initial round of testing will be offered at a concessional fee of US$ 3000. This is a substantial savings relative to the full cost.  For this initial round of testing, companies can expect services similar to those we offer pico-products:

  • All tested products will receive full test results and a letter explaining the results. (Note that tests will likely be complete in February 2015; however, as testing will involve some piloting of new methods, there may be some delays in the process.)
  • Once the full framework is in place, likely by July 2015, products that met the Lighting Global Quality Standards for Solar Home System kits during this first round of testing will receive a Standardized Specification Sheet and Verification Letter that will be posted on the Lighting Global website.  (Note this implies that there will be a delay of several months between the completion of testing and the issuance of SSS and Verification Letters).
  • For eligible companies, additional business support through Lighting Global will be offered once the full framework is in place (likely starting in July 2015). Exact offerings will be determined over the next year. Business support offerings through the regional programs may also be available to companies who become Associates of those programs once the full framework is in place.

Our objective for this first round of testing is to cast our net wide to be as inclusive and representative as possible in recognition of the emerging product offerings. We will consider all products whose applications arrive before the September 15th September 22nd deadline. We plan to use a randomized lottery system that is weighted to ensure we select products that represent a variety of battery chemistries, system sizes, and systems that come with or without appliances (like TVs and fans). We will inform all applicants if their product has been selected for testing shortly after September 15th September 22nd.

If your product is selected for testing, we will contact you to request additional details and to sign a testing agreement. We will then send sampling agents to select up to 16 units of your product in mid-October. A stock of at least 200 units will need to be available for sampling. Your company will be responsible for providing these units and shipping them to one of our two designated test labs for this project (one lab is in Germany and the other is in the US).

Thank you to all who submitted comments on the draft Quality Standards for solar home system kits and completed our survey regarding the manufacturing process. We are reviewing the comments in detail, and we will provide responses to the stakeholder feedback in the coming weeks.  The Quality Standards against which your product will be evaluated in this first round of testing will be similar to the draft Standards that we released, though we may make some revisions in response to feedback.

Please contact us at shs@chief-lighting-global.clientapp.com if you have questions or comments related to this testing opportunity.