The Impacts of the Low Energy Inclusive Appliances Programme on Pakistan’s Off-grid Fan Market

By E Feng Tan Loh, Evaluation Manager, Energy Saving Trust, Co-Secretariat of the Efficiency for Access Coalition

This case study demonstrates how Low Energy Inclusive Appliances (LEIA), Efficiency for Access’ flagship initiative which is funded by UK aid and the IKEA Foundation, interventions contribute to addressing market barriers and enabling more people from underserved communities to gain access to more efficient and affordable fans.

People living in rural Pakistan experience extreme heat and humidity, and temperatures are expected to rise faster than the global average as a result of climate change. To keep cool, these individuals need fans that provide high airflow and as such consume lots of electricity. Compared with other technologies, such as air-conditioners, efficient and solar-powered fans are a low-cost and practical solution to keep people cool.

Challenges for the solar-powered fan market in Pakistan

Supply chain weaknesses

Many people who need these fans struggle to access them, as they are too expensive for those with limited incomes. Locally produced solar-powered fans with high airflow generally cannot be sustainably powered by the average solar home system (SHS). However, imported solar-powered fans often have low airflow and limited battery time, so often do not meet the cooling needs of people in Pakistan.

Limited commercial finance and investment/focus on low-income markets

Previously, the IFC attempted to support local solar-powered fan manufacturers to improve the efficiency of their fans, however, it was challenging to raise awareness around the development potential of the technology and market. Many small to medium local fan companies have limited resources whilst big brand traditional fan manufacturers saw the market for solar-powered fans as small and were not interested in investing.

Inconsistent and unsupportive policy

The market in Pakistan was largely unregulated and quality standards for solar-powered fans were lacking. Without standardisation, fan manufacturers produced metal fans that deliver high airflow but compromise on quality.

Our goal

LEIA’s theory of change (ToC) is that increasing the availability, affordability, efficiency and performance of these appliances will lead to improved clean energy access.

Low Energy Inclusive Appliances (LEIA) programme theory of change (ToC)

The LEIA programme seeks to double the efficiency and half the cost of appliances in hard-to-reach areas around the world. Therefore, leading to improved well-being and incomes for people in developing countries, as well as reduced greenhouse gas emissions. This work will contribute towards three main Sustainable Development Goals, including access to affordable and clean energy (SDG7), decent work and economic growth (SDG8) and climate action (SDG13).

Our work

The LEIA programme has provided support to businesses and organisations working to improve the efficiency, affordability and availability of solar-powered fans. The work includes:

As part of our product testing work, LEIA carried out a market survey in Pakistan to test the performance of fans. The survey found pedestal fans sold in Pakistan consumed 16% to 68% more energy than average fans tested by LEIA. This was then used by the World Bank to engage local fan manufacturers to improve their solar-powered fans. In partnership with the World Bank, LEIA developed a quality assurance framework for fans. This will act as a performance standard and will enable the World Bank and other development partners to use for screening appliances for their solar financing programmes.

In addition to this, the Efficiency for Access Research & Development Fund is supporting a local SHS company, Harness Energy, to develop a super-efficient fan that is powered by a Brushless DC motor and is rechargeable to deliver sufficient airflow and cooling time. To help build local laboratory capacity, we also funded fan testing for seven manufacturers at a local laboratory in Pakistan, the Pakistan Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (PCSIR) laboratory. We also provided technical support to the laboratory in understanding and implementing Global LEAP off-grid fan test method.


The combined efforts led to the following outcomes:

Stronger market and alignment

  • With the support of IFC Lighting Pakistan programme consultant, Ibrar Khattak, local fan manufacturers were encouraged to improve the efficiency and quality of their fans as a result of the fan testing results.

Efficiency improvement

  • Given that local companies have made an investment in improving their fans and incorporating BLDC motors, the average efficiency of locally manufactured fans has improved considerably. Between 2018 and 2020, pedestal fans tested under the LEIA programme efficiency improved by 92% and ceiling fans by 39%.

Cost reduction

  • Despite the additional cost of BLDC motors, however, highly efficient fans can be powered by a smaller and cheaper solar home system, making them more affordable for low-income customers.

Adoption of performance standard

  • The World Bank’s Sindh Solar Energy Project that will provide 200,000 rural households in Pakistan access to affordable SHSs has adopted the fan performance standard for fans. Fan manufacturers have to meet the screening requirements for their products to be certified by VeraSol.


Access to highly efficient and good quality solar-powered fans can keep families in Pakistan cool, improve their quality of life, income, health and well-being. Fans powered by small solar home systems offer a more sustainable, clean energy alternative to traditional fans, and could avoid the use of diesel generators, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Lastly, better quality fans that are durable and last longer also reduce e-waste generation.

This case study demonstrates that LEIA’s interventions have led to a stronger Pakistan off-grid fan market and more affordable, better quality fans that meet the local cooling demand. This, in turn, will contribute to the success of other in-country energy programmes, such as World Bank’s Sindh Solar Energy Project and the PMIC-KfW’s PRIME that will accelerate local market growth and enable more people to access fan-based SHSs

Looking forwards:

  • Collaboration with other programmes could amplify the overall impact of our work.

How we measured the impacts:

  • LEIA’s outputs, expected outcomes and impacts, and results are tracked and reported in a Logical Framework, also known as a logframe. To understand how LEIA interventions or outputs have contributed to the observed outcomes, contribution analysis, a step-by-step process that examine a range of evidence for ToC .

The sections are structured using the LEIA ToC model, describing the specific context of Pakistan off-grid and weak-grid fan market, LEIA activities and outputs, and finally the observed outcomes and impacts.



Field stories, research summaries, and solar appliance market trends from Efficiency for Access, a global coalition working to promote affordable, high-performing, and inclusive appliances that enable clean energy access for the world’s poorest people.

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Efficiency for Access

A global coalition to accelerate clean energy access through high-performing appliances