East Africa is one of the epicenters of a vibrant, highly competitive, and quickly-growing industry that sells (on a commercial and for-profit basis) low-power solar energy products to consumers that traditionally cannot access electricity. Although this appears to be good news for the hundreds of millions of people that rely on kerosene and other traditional energy options, surprisingly little is known about east African solar energy customers and the development impacts of the solar products they use. This new study tracks a group of solar customers and products to uncover the needs and habits of consumers, the performance/reliability of products, and the impacts of business model innovations. We are in the early stages of data collection and will present early findings and next steps for the project, so feedback and ideas from the audience are especially welcome. We seek to identify the most promising niches for solar in East Africa from the perspectives of both solar businesses and their customers.