In the Western world, ready access to electricity is something we never have to think about, knowing it’s there when we need it. From flicking a switch to turn on a light to plugging an appliance into a power point, electricity is something we take for granted. There are, however, around 1.3 billion people worldwide who live without electricity*, mainly in Asia and Africa, relying instead on kerosene lamps. These lamps pose risks of fire and their smoke is harmful to human health.
As well, kerosene lamps provide insufficient lighting, restricting what people can do at night and creating challenges in the areas of healthcare, education and the economy.
Panasonic has stepped up to help tackle this problem with the launch of the 100 Thousand Solar Lantern Project, with the aim to donate 100,000 solar LED lanterns to people in affected regions by 2018, the 100th anniversary of Panasonic’s founding.
Panasonic’s initiatives with solar lanterns date to 2006 when The Republic of Uganda’s Minister of State for the Vice-President’s Office visited Japan and toured the Solar Ark, our solar photovoltaic power generation facility, part of the company’s efforts to help realise a clean energy society. After returning to Uganda, the Minister of State sent a letter to Panasonic outlining the problems associated with kerosene lamps and the advantages that solar cell technology could bring. This led Panasonic to the development of the solar lantern.
The first stage in this project sees Panasonic donating 8,000 compact solar lights to NPOs and NGOs working in Myanmar, India and a refugee camp in Africa. Panasonic is pleased to be able to use the power of technology to make a difference in the world and will continue to innovate to create a positive impact.
Read more about the 100 Thousand Solar Lantern Project here.
* IEA World Energy Outlook, 2012