At the concluding leg of its third consecutive Cairo to Cape Town road show 2012, Philips has announced to launch a new initiative, which will see the installation of 100 “light centers” across rural Africa by 2015.
These are areas of approx 1000m2, or the size of a small soccer pitch, which are lit using a new generation of highly efficient solar powered LED lighting.
The idea is to create areas of light for rural communities which live without electricity thus effectively ‘extending the day’ and creating numerous opportunities for social and economic activities in the evening.
The light centers, the first 40 of which are scheduled for installation in late 2012, will be focused on schools which are closely linked to villages and towns in off-grid or semi-grid areas (this can also include parts of cities). They will provide communal areas which can be used for sport and many other activities – healthcare, education, social, and commerce. They will extend the day by enabling communal life after dark, create safe areas and support sanitation.
Philips has committed an investment of Euro 1.2 million (spread over three years) to this project. Maintenance would be self-sustaining as local authority/owners can rent out the light or advertising space and generate an income. An announcement on which sites and in which countries the light centers will be installed will follow by October 2012.
The new light center initiative also serves as a commitment to action by Philips in support of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative. This initiative has one goal, sustainable energy for all, and three complimentary objectives, all to be achieved by 2030;
1) Ensure universal access to modern energy services,
2) Double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and,
3) Double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.