Solar Home Systems

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Solar Home Systems (SHS) are generally solar systems on a larger scale than lanterns or rechargeables, usually ranging from around 5W up to over 100W, depending on the income and needs of the users.

  • SHS are generally designed to be set up in a user’s house, rather than carried around, and usually the power is stored in a battery connected to the lights or appliances used, rather than in a battery built into the appliances.
  • A system typically consists of a solar panel, a battery, and one or several lights which run off the battery.
  • There can also be phone chargers, radio chargers, and AC inverters which let users plug anything they want into the battery.
  • SHS are sometimes sold off the shelf, but many companies, such as SELCO, will customize the systems they deliver for each user, visiting the user’s house to understand their lighting needs, somewhat along the lines of an interior designer.
  • SHS are usually a much larger purchase than lanterns, generally costing over $100, and therefore often need financing for poor customers.
  • SHS are also more likely to need maintenance over time than smaller products, and therefore enterprises often put a focus in their marketing on the provision of service and ongoing customer relationships.






20, 40, and 80W solar home systems, which include varying numbers of lights and can power increasingly powerful TVs and lights, generally for 4 hours per night. Kamworks also offers a system with an AC plug for appliances. All systems come with a tall fiberglass pole to hang the panel on.



This system consists of two 7W CFLs or 6W tube lights and a 12V 15-35Ah battery, charged by a 14W solar panel. While SELCO’s systems vary in size and number of lights sold, this exemplifies the type of system sold for the home.



Systems come with either 3Wor 10W solar panels and varying numbers of appliances, including lights and mobile phone chargers. The 10W 6LMC, includes 6 lights, each with 4 high power LEDs inside, and a phone charger, it also comes with an aluminum stand; 35 meter wires to connect the lamps and individual switches for each, and a power box.



Avani’s systems are custom assembled based on customer needs, and consist of a solar panel, a battery, and several lights. The systems are built by local community members using the Barefoot College solar technician training methodology.

Grameen Shakti


Grameen Shakti offers a range of solar home systems, from 10 to 135W, for off-grid consumers. The 20W system consists of a 20/21 watt panel, 2 5W CFL lamps or a 3W CFL and a tube light, a 30AH deep discharge battery, a charge controller, a frame and cables.

Barefoot Power

Sub-Saharan Africa, India, over 20 countries worldwide

Barefoot Power offers 5 different solar home systems, from 2.5W to 15W, ranging from 2 to 7 lighting points. All systems power mobile phones and the larger systems power radios as well.

Comparison Chart


Lumen Hours over 5 years (thousands)

5 year Cost (US$)

Kamworks 20W 657 $357.33
SELCO 14W 511 $288.33
VillageSolutions 10W Sun Light 6LMC 292 $244.50
Avani 20W Home Lighting System 328.5 $146
Grameen Shakti 20W 365 $153.75
Barefoot Power PowaPack 5W 146 $182.5
Kerosene 22 $250