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Philips joint venture makes low-energy lamps in Lesotho

28 Mar 2008

A new manufacturing and recycling facility will promote the uptake of energy-efficient light bulbs and fuel economic growth in Southern Africa.

The new plant in Lesotho, Southern Africa, will ultimately manufacture up to 15 million compact fluorescent lamp integrated (CFLi) light bulbs per year.

When it opens in September 2008 the facility will initially assemble CFLi lamps, followed by the production of burners for the bulbs and the establishment of a recycling plant. Production of components could also be included in due course.

"The new production facility will enable us to meet the growing need in energy efficient lighting solutions, stimulate the economic development and reduce the carbon emissions of the region at the same time," commented Luc Escoute of Philips' Lighting. "By saving on electricity costs, it also improves the region's competitiveness."

Philips will own a 40% stake in the new venture. The remainder will be split equally between CEF, a company held by the State of South Africa focusing on opportunities in the region's energy sector, and Karebo Systems, which specializes in energy-efficient lighting and energy programmes worldwide.

The national government intends to replace 80% of incandescent bulbs with energy-saving CFLi bulbs within four to six years, although Philips expects to reduce this timeframe to three years with the establishment of the Lesotho facility.

"Considering the inefficiency of a lot of lighting products in South Africa, a target reduction in energy consumption of 40% is not over ambitious, if appropriate technologies are applied," said Escoute. "If that could be achieved, it would cut the country's CO2 emissions by 13.3 million tons and save 5.3 billion rands ($664 million) in electricity costs."

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