Ethiopia : Solar Home Systems

Total savings: up to 5.000 t C02 per year
Technology: Solar Home Systems with LED-lamps
Local environment: No smoke emission anymore due to kerosene lamps
Further advantages: Lower costs for lightning, Reduction of risks of respiratory diseases, Creation of jobs for installation and maintenance of the solar-powered LED-lamps
Project partners: Fosera Ethiopia, Fosera Germany, German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), Das Institute for Decentralized Electrification, Entrepreneurship and Education GmbH & Co. KG (id-eee)

Status Ethiopia Fosera

Unused potential of the sun

Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world and at the same time – measured in terms of its population size – the biggest landlocked country in the world. Especially the rural areas are often densely populated. Nevertheless they lack many necessities like nationwide power supply. Currently not even 20% of the population is connected to the grid and in rural areas this figure is estimated to be lower than 2%! Therefore many Ethiopians use kerosene lamps, which are incredibly inefficient, expensive and harmful for the climate.

On the other hand, Ethiopia is incredibly endowed with sunshine. Solar energy systems fit for household use are already partly available in the country. However, they are imported goods of inferior quality that often break down after a few months and thus threaten people’s trust in solar energy systems.

Quality meets efficieny and sustainability

The Solar Home System project, which is implemented by atmosfair together with the young company Fosera Manufacturing in Ethiopia, strives to effectively counteract this problem. Solar home systems of high quality at affordable prices shall be provided to households in the global south. In contrary to many mobile solar lamps, Fosera is producing fixed installations, which can be supplemented with up to four lamps. One Solar Home System can save approximately 0.25 t CO2 per year in comparison to the usage of kerosene lamps. 20.000 of these Solar Home Systems shall be distributed and sold in rural areas of Ethiopia. Existing networks of sellers and retailers will be used for distribution.

atmosfair provides the financial resources for the project, which Fosera only has to pay back partially, but will enable Fosera to guarantee production and distribution of the solar home systems. In 2015 already more than 1,500 systems were assembled and sold; in 2016 we are striving for 5,000 solar home systems.

Soon many families in Ethiopia will be able to use a light switch when coming home in the evening. Of course, mobile phones can be charged thanks to the solar home systems – an important benefit since mobile phones are used for a wide range of activities such as mobile-banking. Another advantage for the households will be the reduction of smoke emission, since the solar-powered lamps do not emit any smoke in comparison to kerosene lamps.

To secure the project’s long-term success, atmosfair and its partner Fosera make use of a demanding verification procedure, which guarantees the involvement of the local population as well as the monitoring of other sustainability criteria through the Gold Standard.
Familie eating

An Ethiopian family eating dinner under the light of an Fosera Solar Home System

Our Partners

Fosera Manufacturing was founded as private company in 2014 in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia’s third largest city, where it is establishing a local production of solar systems. Fosera can build on the technical and managerial knowhow of their holding company Fosera Germany located near Ulm. Thomas Koepke, general manager of Fosera Ethiopia, worked many years in the solar energy industry in Germany and Africa. Currently five employees work for Fosera Ethiopia. The explicitly local approach of the production and assembly shall enable many more young Ethiopians to gain and utilize their competences in renewable energies, a job market of the future.

The German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) provides financial resources for the project as part of the Energizing Development Program to develop a mobile phone based monitoring-system. This shall enable a fast and easy identification of the location of the sold Solar Home Systems and thus significantly ease the measurement of the project’s success. Moreover, the GIZ provides financial support for the implementation of trainings and further education of students, lecturers and entrepreneurs in Ethiopia in order to significantly expand the national knowhow and expertise on solar technologies.

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)/ Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) carries out two studies within the scope of the project focussing potential environmental hazards and possible disposal paths of modern accumulators systems. The aim is to investigate how to build a recycling system for NiMeH and LiFePO4 batteries in the long term in Ethiopia and how the potential risk for humans and the environment can be minimized.

The Institute for Decentralized Electrification, Entrepreneurship and Education GmbH & Co. KG (id-eee) is a private institute for applied research and project management. With more than thirty years of professional experience in the field of photovoltaics, founder and university professor Prof. Peter Adelmann teaches lecturers and students for the project in photovoltaic technique and maintenance. 


Julia Hoffmann | Manager CDM Projects

M.Sc. Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science

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