News 2009

Sunlabob speaking at the OECD/UNESCAP regional conference on Corporate Responsibility

On 2-3 November 2009, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) co-organised a conference in Bangkok entitled “Why Responsible Business Conduct Matters”. The objective of the conference was to bring together key players from government, business and civil society from both Asian and OECD countries to exchange their perspectives, experiences and practices in implementing RBC/CSR¹ activities. In total, the conference attracted over 200 participants, from 16 countries in Asia and the Pacific.

Read more: Sunlabob speaking at the OECD/UNESCAP regional conference on Corporate Responsibility

Sunlabob, Lao Red Cross and LIRE partnered for hygiene training in Ban Sor

In cooperation with the Lao Red Cross and LIRE, Sunlabob organized hygiene training in Ban Sor / Vientiane Province on 17th November 2009. Over one hundred villagers joined the half-day information event, during which topics such as proper hand-washing, defecation and sanitation, and health risks of contaminated drinking water were discussed. Thanks to an interactive training approach, the villagers soon lost their reserve and participated in group activities and demonstrations. The relaxed atmosphere made for a successful workshop.

Read more: Sunlabob, Lao Red Cross and LIRE partnered for hygiene training in Ban Sor

Innovative Approach for Rural Electrification Project Financing

First collaboration between Sunlabob and a small private investor

A small private investor from Germany, Mr. Rainer Hiller, has recently stepped forward to contribute to the expansion of Sunlabob’s solar lantern rental system (SLRS) project. Sunlabob has extensive experience of working with development banks or non-governmental organisations for rural electrification project financing, but this is the first time Sunlabob engages in such partnership with a small private investor. It is an innovative approach, which matches our existing partnership with small entrepreneurs in off-grid areas who provide renewable energy solutions in their communities. In essence, Sunlabob’s projects have the potential to match small investors with small local entrepreneurs, who are all working towards the same aim: alleviating poverty through rural electrification.

Read more: Innovative Approach for Rural Electrification Project Financing

Sunlabob participated in the “Seminar on Technology Innovation for Renewable Energy”

Sunlabob is proud to announce that Project Manager Simon Henschel recently took part in the “seminar on technology innovation for renewable energy” held in Taipei, ROC, 14-18 September 2009. The seminar was organised by the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) and the China Productivity Centre (CPC) and sponsored by the Department of Industrial Technology, Taiwan ROC.

The objectives of the seminar were to discuss the latest issues and developments in renewable energy and to observe how the Republic of China successfully applies advanced technology to use abundant renewable resources to protect the environment and supplement its energy requirements. This seminar was attended by representatives of many other countries from the Asia-Pacific region, including Cambodia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Read more: Sunlabob participated in the “Seminar on Technology Innovation for Renewable Energy”

New video about Sunlabob's activities online

New video about Sunlabob's activities

In 2009 Sunlabob was awarded a World Bank financed procurement contract, handled locally by the Rural Electrification Office of the Department of Electricity (part of the Ministry of Energy and Mines), to supply 6,560 solar home systems (20W, 30W and 50W), including spares, to 14 provinces across Laos. With a country average of 5.9 people per household (2005 census), this programme will benefit over 30,000 people nationwide.

The video documents Sunlabob's work in this project and the great logistical challenges which had to be met. Watch the video.

Sunlabob took part in the International Green Tourism Exhibition in Vientiane

Sunlabob took part in the International Green Tourism Exhibition, which was held in Vientiane, Laos, from 15th to 18th July 2009, as part of the 1st World Ecotourism Conference. The event welcomed 300 speakers and conference delegates from 30 countries, 69 exhibitors, and over 5000 visitors.

Laos aims to become a world-renowned destination for sustainable tourism. The country has a low population density; unspoiled, diverse ethnic lifestyles and traditions; and perhaps the richest, most extensive network of ecosystems on the Indochina Peninsula (source: Visitors to this region are therefore encouraged to protect this unique cultural and natural heritage.

Read more: Sunlabob took part in the International Green Tourism Exhibition in Vientiane

Sunlabob becomes a distributor of OutBack Power Systems

Demonstration how to wash the hand and use soap effectively

OutBack Power Systems is a privately-held company headquartered in Arlington, Washington, USA, and is the leading designer and manufacturer of advanced power electronics for renewable energy, back-up power and mobile applications. The company was started in 2001 by a passionate group of engineers and quickly grew by offering innovative and well-designed solutions.

OutBack products are designed to be robust and modular, making them ideally suited for projects in the developing world. Up until now, these products were not available on the Lao market, restricting the quality of supply for many renewable energy projects, especially telecommunication sites. This gap has now been bridged with Sunlabob becoming a distributor of OutBack products.

Of particular relevance to telecommunication sites are OutBack’s charge controllers, inverter/chargers and monitoring devices. More details about these products are available in our brochure.

For more information about OutBack, please visit their website.

Sunlabob completes work on the largest privately-funded solar energy project in S.E.A.

The project is located on the island of Phuket (southern Thailand) and comprises a large villa and recreational facilities, which will become a luxury resort for executive guests. This project came to be because the site is too remote to connect to the electricity grid and the owner wished the resort to be self-sufficient in terms of energy use. Our partner in Thailand, Samui Service Solar Power, was in charge of the project and implemented a 20 kWp solar system, which is expected to cover 80-90% of the resort's energy needs, depending on the occupancy rate. On this project, Sunlabob was the sole supplier of solar equipment for the complete system.

Read more: Sunlabob completes work on the largest privately-funded solar energy project in S.E.A.

Sunlabob completed the installation and commissioning of a village hybrid grid

Ban Phakeo is situated in a very mountainous area of Laos, in Luang Prabang Province. The village recently benefited from an electrification project funded by Fondation Energies pour le Monde (Fondem). Sunlabob were awarded the contract for the design and construction of a village hybrid grid, as well as for the project’s operational implementation (including training and coaching visits).

The Phakeo system is a hybrid solar/diesel mini-grid. Two battery-backed solar systems (with a total peak power of 4.8kW) feed into a 220V AC single-phase mini-grid system via a set of inverters. A 5.6kW diesel generator set serves as a backup power source and a battery charger during periods of low solar irradiance.

Read more: Sunlabob completed the installation and commissioning of a village hybrid grid

Sunlabob recently completed the supply of over 6,500 solar home systems

Last year Sunlabob won an international tender for a World Bank financed procurement contract, handled locally by the Rural Electrification Office of the Department of Electricity (part of the Ministry of Energy and Mines), to supply 6,560 solar home systems (20W, 30W, and 50W), including spares, to 14 provinces across Laos. With a country average of 5.9 people per household (2005 census), this programme will benefit over 30,000 people nationwide.

Each system comprises a solar panel, battery, battery box, charge controller, circuit breaker, and 2 lamps. All materials used are certified and meet international quality standards.

Read more: Sunlabob recently completed the supply of over 6,500 solar home systems

Sunlabob becomes a distributor of Aplicaciones Tecnologicas products


Aplicaciones Tecnologicas is a Spanish company, specialising in the development and manufacture of technology to protect man and the environment. It was founded in 1986 to supply safe and efficient products of the highest quality based on state-of-the art technology in accordance with international standards. Aplicaciones Tecnologicas’ strengths lie in in-house research and development, continuous product improvement, and certified products.

The lightning protection solutions from Aplicaciones Tecnologicas are particularly interesting for Laos, as these represent a new prospect for the construction industry.

For more information about Aplicaciones Tecnologicas, please visit their website

Sunlabob took part in a teleconference hosted by UNEP Korea on 5 June 2009


Sunlabob was asked to participate in an international teleconference entitled “GREENOVATION (Green Innovation)”, which was organised by the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) National Committee for the Republic of Korea on Friday 5th June 2009 at Seoul COEX conference centre, to mark the World Environment Day.


Speakers made their presentations via tele-technology, allowing to get over the barriers of distance and helping to reduce carbon emissions produced by transportation. This conference was the first climate-neutral international teleconference open to the public in Seoul and was also broadcast in real time over the Internet.

Read more: Sunlabob took part in a teleconference hosted by UNEP Korea on 5 June 2009

Lao Institute for Renewable Energy (LIRE) Releases Policy Brief on Jatropha

Policy Brief on Jatropha
Sunlabob as the keyfounder of LIRE is proud to announce the release of a Policy Brief on Jatropha which presents latest findings of the Jatropha biofuel development in Lao PDR.
Sunlabob supports LIRE´s activities in exploring the potential of biofuels and is looking forward for further results and recommendations. Biofuels can play important roles for electrification means (irrigation pumps, off-grid systems, etc.), however a viable commercial business model for the Lao PDR has still to be explored and developed. According to LIRE´s experience, one of the bottlenecks seems to be the proper energy crop selection and a cultivation practice which can be practiced in harmony with existing traditional cultivation methods. Sunlabob still considers biofuels as an interesting mean for providing electricity. However, further research is needed before an implementation can be considered.

Sunlabob and EDC organize workshop for local capacity building

Sunlabob is playing an active role in local capacity building as part of our social responsibility efforts. The workshop “Reporting Development Results (RDR) via Web 2.0” is organized by Sunlabob and Enterprise & Development Consultants Co., Ltd. (EDC). The workshop will be the first of its kind in Laos that will demonstrate the “state-of-the-art”, best practices and applications of the emerging field of reporting development results.
The workshop will take place on May 28 to 29, 2009 in the Sunlabob headquarters. For more information please visit the website of EDC Laos.

Sunlabob goes to Afghanistan

Sunlabob was approached by USAID¹, ASMED², and DAI³ to carry out an assessment of the feasibility of the solar lamp project in Afghanistan, taking account of the local human, social and technical constraints. One of the aims was to evaluate whether the Sunlabob approach to financing and establishing franchised SME energy service hubs in small remote villages could be replicated in Afghanistan.

This first mission in Kabul lasted one week, from 25/04/09 to 03/05/09. Many potential contributors were met, from the business sector, the NGO sector, and the Afghan government, in order to identify opportunities for private-public partnerships and to link potential partners to business services. Two Kabul-based companies appeared extremely keen to implement the Sunlabob solar lantern solution.

Read more: Sunlabob goes to Afghanistan

Energy Globe Award 2008 ceremony

We are proud to release the pictures of the Energy Globe Award 2008 ceremony, which was held on 14 April 2009 in Prague, to honour project winners from around the world for their outstanding sustainable activities. A total of 769 projects from 111 nations were presented. For the second year in a row, Sunlabob was chosen by the International Jury as the national winner for Laos; this time with the project “Village based, solar powered water purification”, details of which can be found here.

The Energy Globe Award aims to highlight that the necessity to save energy, reduce CO2 emissions, and use our resources economically and sustainably is not a concern reserved to experts and industry, but that it should instead be established into public consciousness. The Award therefore serves as an incentive for implementing further projects related to environment, energy efficiency and climate protection.

A warm ‘thank you’ goes to Christina Ketter, a former Sunlabob intern, who kindly accepted the award on behalf of Sunlabob.

For information about the Energy Globe Award, please visit the Energy Globe Award website.

Sunlabob becomes the distributor of ‘Premier Solar’ solar PV modules for South-East Asia


Premier Solar is a leading solar PV module manufacturer based in India, specialising in the manufacturing of high performance solar panels mainly for off-grid applications. Sunlabob is delighted to announce a new partnership with Premier Solar, in reflection of our shared commitment to bringing cost-effective clean energy solutions to the off-grid market.

Premier Solar holds an ISO 9001 Certification (awarded by TÜV Germany), which guarantees excellent quality standards. In addition, Premier Solar concluded a long-term supply agreement in 2007 with one of the world’s foremost photovoltaic manufacturers, German industry leader SCHOTT Solar. This is a further guarantee of quality as SCHOTT products conform to IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) standards.


SCHOTT Solar supply Premier Solar with OEM thin film plates and crystalline cells, which Premier Solar converts into solar modules, which will then be incorporated into Sunlabob’s PV systems.

For more information about Premier Solar visit their website.
For more information about SCHOTT Solar visit their website.

Solar water pumps installed in Attapeu Province (Southern Laos) in cooperation with IFAD

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a specialised agency of the United Nations, dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries. For this sixth collaboration with IFAD, Sunlabob installed 20 solar water pumps in the southern province of Attapeu, which borders Vietnam and Cambodia. With a static head (vertical distance the pump must lift the water) between 15 and 45 metres and a daily output of 50,000 litres, the solar water pumps will be benefiting local farmers, as the pumped water will be used for the irrigation of high-value cash crops.

For more information on the work of IFAD, please visit the following web pages:

Solar Lamp Programme: Successful Pilot Test in Uganda

Sunlabob and its Ugandan franchise partner, TSSD, recently visited Ssazi village in Northern Uganda where Rose Nabatanzi Kiberu is the pilot village entrepreneur for our Solar Lantern Programme.

Ssazi village has no access to electricity and is not expected to be getting grid connection any time soon. For the last 3 months, Rose Nabatanzi Kiberu has been operating 24 prototype battery lanterns. A discussion about her experience so far highlighted strong potential for the operational roll-out of the programme in villages throughout Uganda.

During the pilot test, there were no technical problems or breakdowns, either with the charging station or the lanterns. Rose Nabatanzi Kiberu reported that the quality of light she now gets from the lantern is without comparison to that of the kerosene lamps she was using previously. Her husband added that “going back to kerosene lamps is like being blind in the dark”. For all villagers who took part in the pilot test, the worry about fire hazard has also disappeared.

Read more: Solar Lamp Programme: Successful Pilot Test in Uganda

Sunlabob withdraws from Joint Venture in Cambodia

Due to differences in strategic vision and soaring costs, Sunlabob has decided to terminate its joint venture partnership with Comin Khmere Energy Solutions in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The joint venture company, named Clean Energy Group (CEG), is now managed entirely by Comin Khmere.

Sunlabob joins the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE)

ARE is an international not-for-profit organisation promoting renewable energy solutions for rural electrification in developing countries, for the benefit of its members and of the populations in need.
Bringing together major stakeholders from the field of rural electrification, ARE acts as an advocacy group, promoting access to electricity services using renewable energies to international policy and decision makers. In addition to representing our views and our work, ARE also provides a platform for exchange of best practice, through regular working groups, and networking opportunities amongst like-minded professionals.
At Sunlabob, we are proud to be joining the ARE community and we look forward to sharing our experience in rural electrification with other members.
For further information about the activities of ARE, please visit their website at

Sunlabob joins the Climate Neutral Network


The Climate Neutral Network, supported by UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), brings together companies, associations, cities, regions, and countries, who are all engaged in reducing their impact on the global environment.

Membership in the Climate Neutral Network highlights our commitment to lead the implementation of practices and strategies to cut down our greenhouse gas emissions and achieve climate neutrality.

The Climate Neutral Network also promotes green development and is a platform for exchange of best practice between participants.

Please visit the Sunlabob webpage on the Climate Neutral Network.

Finalist in the Asia Forum for Clean Energy Financing business competition

AFCEF Finalist

Sunlabob participated as a finalist in the 1st Asia Forum for Clean Energy Financing, held in Singapore on 4 March 2009.

This forum gathered investors and financiers interested in the development of clean energy in ASEAN countries and served as a platform to explore business opportunities through presentations and discussions based on business proposals.

In total 11 projects from a wide range of clean energy specialities were selected as finalists and Sunlabob was the only participant with a development mandate.

We are very proud to announce that our business proposal for the battery lantern project was short-listed as one of the most promising clean energy investment opportunities in the ASEAN region.

More information:

Inauguration Ceremony – Solar-powered water purification system

Sunlabob is proud to announce that the first solar-powered water purification system in the Lao PDR is now operational in the village of Ban Sorg, Sangthong District, Vientiane Capital.

This project has been achieved with the collaboration of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Vientiane, the German NGO BORDA, Sunlabob Renewable Energy Ltd, OurWorld Rural Development (Laos), the Lao Institute for Renewable Energy (LIRE) and the village of Ban Sorg.

To celebrate this event, an inauguration ceremony was organised on Friday 27th February 2009, which provided a unique opportunity to learn about our solution by seeing the fully-functioning drinking water service in operation in the village.

Read more: Inauguration Ceremony – Solar-powered water purification system

Sunlabob Receives $100,000 UNEP Sasakawa Prize in Africa


Sunlabob was one of 2 organisations awarded with a $100,000 USD cheque in Nairobi last week, from UNEP and supported by the Nippon Foundation. The award is in recognition of Sunlabob’s ground breaking efforts in ‘Moving towards a low carbon economy’ which was the theme of the World Environment Day 2008.

Sunlabob Director Andy Schroeter, who received the award, responded to the honour stating; “...this is a proud moment for Sunlabob, and for the renewable energy sector in Lao PDR. We have been working hard towards making renewable energy solutions affordable and appropriate for the rural setting not only in Lao PDR but for developing countries all over the world. This award is confirmation that we are on the right track, and will enable us to further develop existing technologies and explore new innovations.”

Read more: Sunlabob Receives $100,000 UNEP Sasakawa Prize in Africa

Lao Institute for Renewable Energy (LIRE) releases 2008 Annual Report


LIRE has just release their Annual Report for 2008 which showcases their latest developments, growth, research and findings. Sunlabob is a commercial partner to LIRE and was instrumental in its foundation in 2006 along with other educational institutions and corporate organisations. LIRE is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the sustainable development of a self sufficient renewable energy sector in the Lao PDR. The institute offers agronomical, technological and socioeconomic research services, and works to provide a free public resource of information and advice on the use of renewable energy technologies in Laos. LIRE strives to support the development of the country by exploring commercially viable means to establish renewable energy technologies in rural parts of the country, in areas without connection to the national grid and with little access to technical expertise.

German Ambassador hosts Sunlabob Seminar


On Wednesday 21st January 2009 at the Lao Plaza Hotel in Vientiane, the German Ambassador, Dr. Peter Wienand and the directors of Sunlabob Renewable Energy hosted a seminar titled New Strategies for Rural Electrification in the Lao PDR. This event brought together the leading authorities of renewable energy from the government, NGO’s and the private sector to discuss and explore viable options for the future of the industry here and abroad.

The event heard remarks from Dr. Maydom Chanthanasinh, Vice President of National Authority for Science and Technology. The directors of Sunlabob also gave presentations on the issues and opportunities faced for the development of renewable energy in Laos.

Read more: German Ambassador hosts Sunlabob Seminar

Sunlabob and Exotissimo bring the E-Cycle to Laos

Sunlabob recently supplied the travel company, Exotissimo in Luang Prabang, with 40 E-Cycles. Sunlabob’s E-Cycle looks and works exactly the same as a normal bicycle, except the E-Cycle has a high tech lightweight battery and running gear attached to the rear wheel, that can power the cycle up to speeds of 32km/h without any peddling assistance of the rider. The rider controls the speed of the E-Cycle with the throttle on the handlebar in the same fashion as a motorbike. Sunlabob’s E-Cycle can cover over 35kms without any peddling before having to be recharged. Charging the E-Cycle is easy and fast with the Li-ion battery only taking 4 hours to recharge by simply plugging the supplied cable into a normal wall socket.

Exotissimo approached Sunlabob about the E-Cycle, for their range of pre-booked cycle tours that takes mainly tourists from Australia and Europe throughout the city and nearby region. The E-Cycle has proved to be real hit with the tourists as it is an easier option for long rides than a normal bicycle, as well as being a safer, cheaper and more eco friendly.

Exotissimo logo

Sunlabob is planning on taking the E-Cycle and other innovative E-Auto vehicles to other areas of Laos and the SE Asia region, in an attempt to provide fun, safe, environmentally friendly and affordable alternatives to the petrol and diesel reliant options that are currently available.

Engineers Without Borders UK collaborating with Sunlabob

EWB-UK and Sunlabob have entered into a technical partnership that provides Sunlabob with the technical skills and knowledge of young enthusiastic engineers from Engineers Without Borders UK. The joint project between Sunlabob and EWB-UK, which is being overseen by the Lao Institute for Renewable Energy (LIRE), initially requested one volunteer to help with the testing, implementation and installation of a solar powered water purification system.

The placement of the first 3 months volunteer has impressed Sunlabob so much, that we are already discussing collaboration with EWB-UK on future projects.

Dhruv Kumar, a EWB-UK volunteer says: “The interesting thing about Sunlabob is that they want to make these projects sustainable in an economic as well as environmental sense rather than implementing the technology and having to maintain it themselves”.

For more information please visit the EWB-UK website.

Or read these articles about placement with EWB-UK and our partner the Lao Institute for Renewable Energy (LIRE):
Bringing Clean Water to Rural Laos Communities
Developing a Range of Renewable Energy Systems