The new face of Senegal: a local perspective
50,000. That’s how many off-grid public streetlights will be installed
across Senegal by the end of 2021. This vast project — the largest ever
undertaken in the solar lighting sector worldwide — is being delivered by
Fonroche Lighting of France. It’s not just bringing eco-friendly lighting to
people. It’s bringing life. Over 23,000 off-grid streetlights are already up
and running in districts across the country, helping foster local development
and bringing benefits for work, education, social and cultural activities and
This report, filmed in Senegal a few months ago, features first-hand
testimonials and offers real insights into this beautiful country and the lives
of men, women, children, students, stallholders and fishermen. They all say
solar lighting is about much more than illumination. Click on play for a
journey you won’t forget!
What local people are saying
Senegal’s economic development
Economic activity has been given a big boost. For stallholders, fishermen,
tourist guides and others in business, Fonroche solar streetlights now mean they
can work longer, allowing them to earn a better living. Here, the sun goes down
at 6 pm all year round and people often didn’t feel safe to be out. Today, the
new streetlights ensure the streets are brightly lit.
“Before, I only had a small light, so people couldn’t see me,” says a Dakar
stallholder. “Selling a single sandwich was hard. Thanks to the streetlights,
we can stay open until 11 pm and sell ten sandwiches or more! I work for my family.
With what I sell, I can feed my four children.”
Education: improving equal opportunities
A country’s development also depends on providing schooling to everyone
from the youngest age. School and university students across Senegal are now
able to sit under the off-grid public streetlights and study after dark. As a
result, inequalities in education access are being reduced and young people are
achieving more. In terms of economic development, this opening up is having a
big impact on regions far away from the capital.
“When there was a power outage, our children couldn’t study. Now, they can
go outside to work under the streetlights. It’s made such a difference!”
A vast state programme for Senegal’s towns and cities
Valuable cost savings
Senegal’s local authorities have welcomed these sustainable solar
streetlights just as enthusiastically, not least because they provide 365
nights of lighting a year, with no outages and no electricity bills. The cost
of public lighting is much lower than conventional equipment, allowing the money
saved to be spent on other areas, such as schools.
As we’ve said before, it’s cheaper to invest in PV lighting than
grid-connected equipment, because the price of renewable energy is now lower
than power from the grid, in what’s called ‘grid parity’. In fact, a solar
solution is now 25% cheaper per mile of road than grid-tied streetlights.
Streetlighting means safer communities
Feeling safer comes across as the main benefit for local people. Solar
streetlights are an important part of efforts to combat assaults, burglary and
other crimes and security issues. People now feel confident to go out after
dark, run their businesses and also take part in cultural and religious
The contribution of these lighting solutions is seen in Senegal as a
positive and virtuous cycle. People feel safer and as a result, the entire
economy is being given a boost. Every night, Fonroche is providing light for
20,000 more people in Senegal!