In 2017, as part of ongoing efforts to bolster the off-grid solar market, Lighting Global Quality Assurance tested a group of top-selling non-quality-verified solar products in five domestic markets across Africa and South Asia. All 17 evaluated products — purchased from retail stores in Ethiopia, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, and Tanzania — failed to meet the Lighting Global Quality Standards for pico-PV products.
The Good News
While it is quite concerning that none of the selected products met the Lighting Global Pico-PV Quality Standards, the test results do show that, collectively, many products fared well with regards to the following aspects of the Standards:
- 100% of the products met physical ingress protection requirements
- 79% of the products met requirements for physical durability
- 69% of the products met LED lumen maintenance requirements
- 58% of the products met battery durability requirements
The Not-So-Good News
The tested products had limited and often inaccurate consumer-facing information. In addition, nearly all the tested products had some combination of technical issues that would lead to relatively short lifetimes and could contribute to consumer dissatisfaction. Following are the most common deficiencies identified in this study:
- None of the portable products met the standard for water ingress protection.
- Only 37% of the products had proper protection against deep discharge and overcharging of the battery.
- Of the seven products that included AC-DC chargers, none of them carried approval from a recognized consumer electronics safety certification organization.
- Only 12% of the products included a consumerfacing warranty.
Of the products that advertised battery capacity or full-battery run time, less than half did so accurately.