Two brothers, Arnaud and Maxence Chabanne, set themselves a new challenge: manufacturing solar lamps at an industrial scale in Africa, in order to bring a quality and proximity solution to 650 million African people who do not have access to electricity. The first manufacturing unit open its doors this month in Burkina Faso. First, two models of KALO solar lanterns are manufactured, for lighting and charging mobile phone. This way, LAGAZEL addresses the challenge of low-carbon rural electrification while contributing to industrial development of the African continent.
LAGAZEL solar lamps improve studying conditions for pupils © Nicolas Réméné
From €20 to €30, KALO solar lamps are accessible, and achieve an unequalled quality. Designed with components coming mainly from French suppliers, and equipped with a sturdy metallic hull, KALO solar lamps can provide up to 48 hours lighting and come with a 5 years warranty.
But LAGAZEL innovation mainly lies in its manufacturing model. Lamps are produced in Africa, closed to consumption places, by qualified and trained people. Arnaud Chabanne, LAGAZEL co-founder, explains: “Most solar equipments available on African markets are made in Asia. Suppliers are not able to offer after-sales-service, and faulty products are stored on-site, with no solution for end-of-life recovery.
A LAGAZEL production unit employs 15 local people
With 10 years’ experience in Burkina Faso, Arnaud perfectly understands and masters the market and environment there. His company CB ENERGIE, founded in 2004, employs 30 people today. LAGAZEL production unit that will be opened on October 13th is built on CB ENERGIE’ site, in Dédougou, 300 km north-west of the capital Ouagadougou.
With LAGAZEL, Arnaud and Maxence CHABANNE aims to scale up in order to address the huge challenge of rural electrification in Africa, where 70% of the population still lives in the dark. A production unit can manufacture up to 500 lamps daily, and LAGAZEL developed L-BOX, a LAGAZEL facility in a box that can be easily and quickly implemented in a new country. This manufacturing concept will enable the two brothers reach their goal: sell more than one million solar lamps by 2020, through ten facilities in Africa.