Mayotte’s streetlights powered by Indian Ocean sunshine

Our international projects / Friday, May 3rd, 2019

Join us today as we journey to Mayotte, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and the coast of Mozambique. Mayotte is an overseas French-administrated territory and comprises a main island, Grande-Terre, and a smaller island, Petite-Terre. Our local partner talks enthusiastically about how Fonroche Lighting off-grid solar solutions manufactured in France are lighting up the archipelago’s streets and squares after sundown.

The perfect solution for Mayotte

Mayotte, home territory for solar lighting

Public lighting in the island communities of Mayotte is still relatively limited, leaving infrastructure and people in the dark. This lack of lighting is mainly due to the high cost of energy, following a sharp rise in fossil-fuel electricity prices on the island in recent years. (Source: 2018 figures from INSEE, France’s national statistics agency). Off-grid solar streetlights are therefore the ideal solution, providing powerful illumination for enhanced safety and security after sunset and avoiding expensive electricity bills. Plus, the archipelago enjoys an equatorial climate, with “wall-to-wall sunshine” most of the time — ideal conditions for charging the batteries and providing lighting 365 nights a year!

Proving solar’s credentials

Until recently, solar lighting suffered a poor reputation on the islands. Local opinions like this were typical: “Gadgets you stick in the garden, which don’t light up a thing!” So solar needed to prove its credentials. Mayotte’s electric utility EDM quickly came onboard to support this lighting technology.

The first Fonroche off-grid streetlights were installed for the education authority on access roads to staff accommodation. Later, the company won a contract to provide lighting for the business district of Mayotte’s capital city, Mamoudzou. Today, a vast array of solar streetlights deliver year-round illumination for roads, car parks, roundabouts, squares, seafronts and more. And during total power outages in Mayotte, only the areas lit by Fonroche continue to brave the night!

A public lighting in a residential area in Mayotte

Since November 2016, Fonroche Lighting has won contracts for numerous projects with UGAP, France’s central purchasing agency for local authorities, subsidised by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Mayotte embraces solar

In Mayotte, nights are long and the local residents want proper lighting for their streets and squares. In the evening, after the heat of the day, they enjoy going out to sample the fare at roadside eateries and catch up with friends. Installing solar streetlights helps create more spaces where people can get together.

The archipelago has a population of nearly 400,000, and the electric grid simply doesn’t have the capacity to allow lighting in all locations. As a result, public solar lighting has naturally found its place in Mayotte.

Working with local partner Luceo

All about people

Stephane Malbert – Luceo Company

To develop business in this island community, Fonroche has been working for the last three years with local company Luceo through an exclusive partnership agreement. Luceo is EDM-approved and distributes and installs Fonroche solar streetlights in Mayotte and Réunion Island.

Commenting on the partnership, the company’s founder Stéphane Malbert says: “I met Fonroche Lighting’s export sales manager and its founder Yann Maus when I visited their headquarters in Roquefort, France. I was impressed by the people, first and foremost, then by their products and their commitment to further develop and improve them. They trusted me, which in turn gave me permission to talk more about how I perceive things locally here — I really thank them for that.” In 2019, the outlook is bright for Mayotte and Réunion Island!