The IFC/World Bank-supported Lighting Global Quality Test Methodology has become the world standard for clean off-grid lighting products, following its incorporation into an International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) technical specification in 2013. The Lighting Global team regularly updates the Quality Standards and Lighting Global policies to ensure that they remain responsive to the changing market and proposes comments to the IEC to help improve and maintain the test methods (IEC/ TS 62257-9-5). During these update processes, we aggregate feedback from a broad range of stakeholders, including manufacturers, distributors, micro-finance institutions, NGOs, governments, product testing laboratories, standards bureaus, and consumers.

To participate in these processes, check this webpage, sign up for email updates, or email info@lightingglobal.org. The success of the Lighting Global program is reliant on active stakeholder participation and we appreciate your feedback.  We appreciate all who have participated in stakeholder processes in the past. Click here to review outcomes from previous stakeholder outreach. 

CALLING ALL STAKEHOLDERS!

Seeking Feedback on Changes to Lighting Global Quality Assurance Fees

The Lighting Global Quality Assurance program will soon be revising the fees it charges manufacturers for quality verification services and is seeking input on these changes.

Currently, manufacturers pay a program fee of $1000 for initial qualification (QTM) and $500 for renewal. Our current table of fees is on this page on the Lighting Global website. These fees cover a portion of the costs of a number of services, including:

  • Designing a test plan
  • Coordinating selection of product samples for testing
  • Overseeing testing and providing technical support to laboratories as needed
  • Reviewing draft test reports
  • Preparing a cover letter that interprets the test report, benchmarks the product, and provides tailored feedback on the product’s performance
  • Creating a Verification Letter and Standardized Specification Sheet/Book and listing the product on the Lighting Global website

Actual costs to provide these services vary greatly, but typically range from $2000 to $3000 per product. The costs above and beyond the fees charged to manufacturers have been covered by donors such as the International Finance Corporation since the program’s inception.

Proposed changes to fee structure: base fee plus adders

To make our pricing more equitable and increase the share of program costs borne by companies, we would like to make our pricing more closely reflect actual costs. That means charging a higher price for more complicated products that require more effort to qualify. To accomplish this, we are considering charging a base fee and applying additional fees based on the complexity of the product, as shown in the box below. Just as today, pricing for market entry testing (QTM) would likely be different from pricing for renewal/retesting.

Comparison of Existing and Proposed Fee Structures
Existing Quality Verification Fees

  • Market Entry Testing (QTM): $1000
  • Renewal Testing and Retesting: $500
Proposed Quality Verification Fees

  • Base fee:
    • Standard base fee
    • Discounted base fee
  • Additional fees added to the base fee, as applicable:
    • …for a plug-and-play solar home system kit
    • …for a non-plug-and-play product
    • …per included appliance with a battery (includes lights)
    • …per included appliance without a battery (includes lights)
    • …per component tested (applies to product families only)

 

Proposed discounted pricing

We recognize that higher fees could be a hardship for some companies, so are exploring the possibility of introducing tiered pricing, whereby certain companies would qualify for a discount based on prescribed eligibility criteria, which could include:

  • New customer — for the first product (or product family) seeking quality verification
  • New customer — for the first 2 or 3 products (or product families) seeking quality verification
  • Low sales volume (based on total number of quality-verified products sold during the prior year)
  • Low sales revenue (based on value of sales of quality-verified products during the prior year)
  • Some combination of the above

Proposal to allow outside product sampling

In response to requests from our partners, we are also considering splitting out the product sampling fee from the base fees to give companies the option to contract directly with an approved sampling agent or continue working with the QA team to handle product sampling. The standard fee for having the QA team handle sampling would continue to be $500 per event (and would not be included in the base fee).

Note that the fees in question do not in any case include product testing fees, which are determined by independent testing laboratories, not by the Lighting Global program.

We welcome comments on this proposal from all current and prospective QA program partners, especially manufacturers and brand owners of off-grid solar products. Please submit your feedback using this short online survey no later than March 15, 2019.

Additionally, to give you a chance to learn more about our thinking and ask questions, we are scheduling two teleconferences in the coming weeks, held at different times of the day to accommodate people in a range of time zones. Please register for the time that works best for you.

Americas, Europe, and Africa
March 7 at 13:00 GMT  |  Register for this time.
Find out when this is in your time zone.

Asia and Pacific
March 13 at 02:00 GMT  |  Register for this time.
Find out when this is in your time zone.

We will consider your input in revising our pricing and will publish the revised schedule in advance of the effective date to give companies time to plan.

Please note, program costs increase every year, yet there have been no increases in our pricing since 2014. Going forward, prices will be reevaluated annually.

We appreciate your business and thank you in advance for your input!