MUNICH, Germany, March 31 /PRNewswire/ --

- Eco-Friendly Off Grid Lighting for Developing Countries

At Lake Victoria in Kenya OSRAM has launched a unique project for producing light away from a permanent power supply. At a specially constructed solar station (OSRAM Energy Hub) the local people can recharge batteries for energy-saving lamps, luminaire and other electrical appliances, such as mobile phones, at low cost and without damaging the environment. Off Grid solutions are the way forward for developing and emerging countries that cannot afford to set up a permanent power supply network. The market is huge, as 1.6 billion people throughout the world live without electricity. "OSRAM is a pioneer in the field of Off Grid solutions. We are proud to be the first lighting manufacturer in the world to offer a sustainable lighting solution for regions without power supply networks," said Dr. Kurt Gerl, CSO of OSRAM GmbH at a press conference in Nairobi.

Around Lake Victoria there are approximately 30 million people who do not have access to a permanent power supply. They produce light by burning kerosene, which is not only harmful to their health, it also places a huge burden on the environment. Burning kerosene to produce light emits 67 million tonnes of CO2 each year in Africa - that is approximately equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of Finland. Globally 190 million tonnes of CO2 are emitted each year. "OSRAM's solar station, the OSRAM Energy Hub, is a concept that can be replicated anywhere in the world. We're supporting the local economy in the region, the local population, and reducing CO2 emissions," says Wolfgang Gregor, Off Grid project leader and Chief Sustainability Officer at OSRAM.

Sustainable development in the region

The pilot project in Mbita provides an excellent basis for successful implementation of the Off Grid concept. This small town on the banks of Lake Victoria does not have a permanent power supply, but does have a thriving economy based on fishing. Around 175,000 fishermen use kerosene lamps every night to entice the fish. For the fishermen in Mbita, switching over to solar-powered "O-LAMP BASIC" or "O-LAMP 2 in 1" energy-saving lamps will pay for itself in just four weeks as the cost of kerosene takes up more than half of their income. At the same time, jobs are being created at the Energy Hubs. Local training courses for operating and sales staff have already begun. A micro-financing system organized by the local NGO, OSIENALA, is in place to finance the lamps and the deposit.

Three further Energy Hubs in Kenya and Uganda about to open

The OSRAM Energy Hub in Mbita was built in just four months following a year of planning. The other collaborators are Solarworld AG and the cell phone manufacturer Nokia. The pilot Energy Hubs have water treatment systems with integrated UV lamps of OSRAM at their disposal. The goal is to cooperate with Siemens to provide water treatment systems after the pilot trial. OSRAM teams are working on three further Energy Hubs in Kenya and Uganda which will be opened in the next few months. In addition, the building of a new energy hub in India will be assessed.

OSRAM Off Grid lamps for light away from a permanent power supply

The "O-LAMP BASIC" and "O-LAMP 2 in 1" products for the Off Grid project are particularly robust, watertight and much more cost-effective than the kerosene lamps currently being used. The "OSRAM O-LAMP BASIC" operates in combination with an external battery box which can be taken back to the nearest Energy Hub as soon as it is discharged and exchanged for a fully charged battery. Users pay a deposit for the box. Other low-power devices such as radios and mobile phones can also be connected to this battery box (O-BOX) and run or recharged. There are also complete luminaires such as the "OSRAM O-LAMP 2 in 1" which comprises an energy-saving lamp and LED. It has an integrated battery and is recharged or exchanged at the Energy Hub as a separate unit.

About OSRAM:

OSRAM is part of the Industry sector of Siemens and one of the two leading lighting manufacturers in the world. Sales for the OSRAM group worldwide in the year ending September 30, 2007 totaled 4.7 billion euros, 88 percent of which came from outside Germany. OSRAM is a high-tech company in the lighting industry. Around 60 percent of sales come from energy-efficient products. This global player employs more than 41,000 people worldwide, supplies customers in some 150 countries and has 48 production facilities in 17 countries.

OSRAM's unique project in Kenya

Eco-friendly Off Grid lighting for developing countries

Press Contact: Nadine Kleinert Phone: +49-89-6213-3769 Fax: +49-89-6213-3457 Email:

Press Contact: Nadine Kleinert, Phone: +49-89-6213-3769, Fax: +49-89-6213-3457, Email: