LED lights 'the way to go'

2012-08-16 14:50
LED lights, combined with solar power solutions may provide the answer for people disconnected from the national electricity grid. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

LED lights, combined with solar power solutions may provide the answer for people disconnected from the national electricity grid. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories


  • Environment
    This volume of "The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture" surveys the dynamic environmental forces... Now R886.00
    buy now
Cape Town - LED (light-emitting diode) lighting combined with solar power solutions may provide the answer for the lack of electrification of impoverished communities, a major supplier has said.

"It's now become very viable to do solar; by combining LED with the solar because it draws far less energy than conventional lighting, suddenly the lifetime of the product is enhanced," John Westermeyer, marketing manager for Philips Lighting Africa told News24.

The company that used to dominate the electronics industry has realigned its focus to energy solutions, particularly for developing markets.

"The main advantage of LED is number one: It's lifetime; it lasts for thousands of hours compared to conventional lighting and secondly, that you can achieve energy savings - anything from 50% to 90% depending on what you replace and its application, of course," said Westermeyer.

Phillips lost out to South Korean giants with the advent of new LED TV technology, but it sees Africa as a market with potential for LED lighting solutions.


LEDs typically consume 10% to 20% of the energy of conventional light bulbs and last for around 50 000 hours.

On Tuesday, the company launched an off grid electrification programme in Lomshiyo, Mpumalanga and on Thursday, the company will launch a project in Cape Town.

Westermeyer rejected suggestions that it the programme was a marketing ploy, and said that it demonstrated viability of small-scale electrification in communities that have not been serviced by the national grid.

"No, it's a huge area of focus for us; if you look at Africa as a whole - over 800 million people in Africa don't have access to electricity.

"If you look at a satellite image of the world and you look at Africa, it really stands out from the simple reason that it's so dark at night. For us it represents huge opportunity... the benefits of that are increased productivity, and also from an educational perspective - children being able to do homework at night," he said.

Many people in rural communities find themselves excluded from the electricity grid because of their isolation and there is no capacity to build infrastructure in these areas.


"This country is still faced with massive challenges: You look at Mpumalanga, Limpopo, parts of KZN [KwaZulu-Natal], Eastern Cape - you have large communities staying out in those areas; the cost to run cables there to electrify those areas - that's huge and Eskom can't really afford to do that," Westermeyer said.

The lighting projects also limit the ability of thieves to steal copper cable that would shut down electricity supply, though the upfront cost of installing renewable energy systems is expensive.

Westermeyer argued that a renewable energy system could return the investment cost within a short period.

"If you actually do a calculation based on our system versus going the conventional electrification route, I think it's one and a half to two years. If you look at it from that perspective, it makes absolute sense."

- Follow Duncan on Twitter
- News24
Read more on:    environment  |  renewable energy

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


3 must-do trail runs

If you love trail running, you have to put these on your bucket list.


Where were you when you last felt alive?

Climbing the world’s largest stone arch
Awesome extreme sports people
Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route
Watch: Insane road bike skills!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

One day only! – 40% off Appliances!

Get 40% off 100’s of appliances at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


There is a strong desire to be self sufficient, right and in control today. There is a tendency to hold on too tightly to your...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.