Field Study Methods and Results from a Market Trial of Night Market Vendors in Rural Kenya

Publication Type

Journal Article



We evaluated the uptake of grid-independent LED lighting among night vendors in two small Kenyan towns during the "early days" of the solar- LED market. The methods we used combine social geography with energy and technology analysis to understand LED lighting adoption patterns in the context of a market that is getting its first exposure to LED technology, a situation that is repeating itself in villages and towns across the developing world. Of 23 night vendors to whom we offered LED lanterns at realistic market prices, 14 (61%) opted to purchase. We identified wide variations in baseline kerosene fuel use, significant fluctuations in the pricing of kerosene, an only partial degree to which kerosene was displaced, the value of highfrequency utilization information derived from embedded data loggers, consumer willingness to pay for improved lights, and significantly confounding effects of market spoiling due to prior experience with low-quality LED products. In a likely response to significant reductions in kerosene prices during the trial period, a non-adopter control group increased kerosene use by 70%.


Light & Engineering



Year of Publication