By: Mike Sherry.
The design of the Mwezi Light has now been finalized. We have improved the second prototype to make the light more robust and widened the printed circuit board to get the maximum amount of light from the LED’s.We commissioned the injection mouldings in September. After a few technical issues they will be completed by the end of January 2014. This has taken a little longer than we hoped but we needed to get it right.This means we should start production at the beginning of February to arrive in Kenya early March. We will airfreight some stock to both the UK and Kenya so that we can start training, assembly and sales as soon as possible. The bulk of the production run will be transported by sea from Ningbo, China to Mombasa, Kenya. Bulk transport should take 5 weeks.
Over the last few months we have been developing the idea of affordable access products at different points on the energy ladder. Conventionally, the energy ladder concept is that poor households start at the bottom of the energy ladder with fuel like fire wood and kerosene and then progress, with investment, to more advanced and efficient technologies – ultimately to on grid electricity. It seems unlikely that on grid electricity will be made available to the majority of households in the near or even medium term – at least according to the World Bank.
In the meantime, we plan to offer simple, high quality products that give access to lighting at different costs – starting with a high quality aluminium LED torch to a home solar system – all of these products need some assembly, demonstrating and after-sales support. We are currently testing a range of products in a Likoni, Kenya. Jack and Teddy arranged a community meeting to introduce and demonstrate the products and recruit some volunteers to undertake field testing.
Most people had never seen solar products before! Initial feedback has been very positive and people have already noticed the savings they are making by not having to buy kerosene. The study is due to completed in the next few weeks. I will report on the findings.