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FACES OF CHANGE - Market Transformation for Energy Efficient Lighting in Morocco

Electricity Morocco was climbing fast – by as much as 10 percent in some years -  a large share used to light homes. Energy efficiency effectively became a national emergency with lighting at the heart of the effort.

Photographs by Nour Eddine Tilsaghani .

Power use could be curbed easily if householders made one small change: use a compact fluorescent lamp (CFLs) instead of an incandescent (ILs). The replacement of 15 million incandescent lamps will save 1,070 GWh of electricity consumption per year in Morocco, which represents twice the annual consumption of the entire city of Agadir.

But to make that happen, the country had to clear two hurdles. Though gifted with a longer lifetime and much more energy efficient, CFLs were six times more expensive to buy than ILs in Morocco, which could be up to a week’s pay for an average household. In addition, CFLs sold in Morocco were often not up to consumer standards. To overcome these obstacles, in 2010 UN Environment, alongside the Moroccan Ministry of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment (MEMWE) and the National Electricity and Water Utility (ONEE), set up the Market Transformation for Energy Efficient Lighting.  

The program uses multiple approaches to rapidly disseminate energy efficient lighting in homes all over the Kingdom. Here’s how it works: a consumer may get up to 10 CFLs a year from ONEE, and then pay them back gradually, 10 cents per month over 20 months for each lamp; CFLs are installed by ONEE in offices, and passed out in remote areas by mobile caravans; low-income households are eligible for a MAD 3 (US$0.35) subsidy per CFL, lowering the price nearly 13 percent; and finally, CFL lamps are sold in supermarkets in big cities to increase accessibility.

Of course, policies and regulations will drive Moroccans to convert to CFLs even faster.  A joint effort with en.lighten is helping develop taxes and regulations to phase out ILs, and to phase in minimum performance standards for efficient lighting. To further adoption, the program is considering taxes and other financial sweeteners for throwing away ILs, recycling CFLs, alongside training policymakers and updating customs officials and staff at product testing labs to keep CFL product standards high.

In total, Morocco’s hard work transforming the energy efficiency market has led to nine million CFLs installed, beating the original target of five million. The bar has now been raised to 10 million. The Market Transformation for Energy Efficient Lighting was successful in reducing the price of CFLs, even below the ONEE target, to MAD 18 from MAD 24.

 “Morocco’s success in building a market for cleaner and more efficient lighting is a powerful testimony to how a developing country can ramp up its clean energy ambitions." Nour Eddine Tilsaghani 

Born in 1972 in Marrakech, Nour Eddine Tilsaghani lives and works in his hometown. He’s a a director, video maker and photographer. His work has been exhibited in various festivals in Europe and in Canada. One of his movie was also presented at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. He worked for 6 years as an independent film director and journalist for the Luxembourg LUXE TV Channel and for the Arabic ALHURRA TV channel for a year. In 2016, he won the COP22 photo competition “A picture for my planet”.




The transition to energy efficient lighting in the residential, commercial, industrial and outdoor sectors for all major lamp types would result in the following benefits:

1.7 TWh in annual electricity consumption = power output of two medium power plants
1.1 million tones of annual reduction of CO2, equivalent to 0.3 million mid-size cars off the road
$US 220.1 million annual savings through energy efficient lighting


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