In April 2015, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, with support from the French Development Agency (AFD) and the European Union (EU), created the first-ever quality assurance system for solar home products in Cambodia – the ‘Good Solar™ Initiative’. This marked the arrival of a crucial, long-awaited mechanism to curb the prevalence of low quality solar products, and to (re)build consumers’ trust and confidence in solar products.
Upon obtaining their certification from the Good Solar™ Initiative in July 2015, certified solar companies have been swift in adopting the Initiative’s ‘Quality Label’ into their promotional materials, and have begun to proudly advertise their certification status to rural consumers. As such, certified quality solar companies differentiate themselves visibly from lower quality competitors, and offer consumers a simple visual mark to identify a reliable solar company.
Anecdotal reports from rural consumers and from certified solar companies certainly seemed to confirm the urgent need for such a consumer protection scheme: prevalence of low-quality products as well as solar scam artists tricking rural consumers into buying counterfeit solar products has been observed to be on the rise over the past 6 months.
By displaying the Good Solar™ quality label on their products, certified solar companies are making an active contribution to educating communities about the different quality levels of solar products available in the market place, and sensitise consumers to critically evaluate different solar products on offer.
In the coming months, the Good Solar™ Initiative will launch an extensive education and awareness raising campaign to inform rural Cambodian communities about the benefits of buying quality-assured solar products.