Nuru Energy began seven years ago with a simple notion: to build a sustainable, scalable solution to displace the dirty kerosene that, it is said, 1.6 billion people worldwide burn to generate light.
Study after study found that the world’s poorest spent upwards of 25 per cent of their income on kerosene, at a cost of $17 billion per year in Africa alone. Many of these studies also clearly outlined the difficulties inherent in changing this practice.
A 1991 study looking at the potential of photovoltaic technology in Rwanda cited high investment costs, unavailability of credit and maintenance and repair problems as hurdles to its widespread use. A more recent study of the off-grid lighting market in Africa found similar barriers to its scalability. Progress, it appears, has been slow.