German-Lao collaboration brings light to remote Lao village
- Published on Wednesday, 06 October 2010
In Sept 2010, Sunlabob installed a solar lantern charging station with 45 solar lanterns in a remote village in Xieng Khuong province, bringing electricity and light to 265 villagers. The project is the result of a collaboration between key partners the Lao Institute of Renewable Energy (LIRE), Solaventus Foundation, a thrust that supports renewable energy and drinking water projects in developing countries and emerging markets, and LIRE’s implementation partner, Sunlabob. Through the Solaventus Foundation, German solar company KaiserSolar and German CSR consulting firm eco:factum funded the installation of the solar systems in the village.
Laos is among a group of least developed countries, and together with Cambodia is the poorest country in Asia. As of 2008, more than 40% of households have no access to electricity. In rural areas, villagers use kerosene lamps or candles to illuminate their homes at night, resulting in the emission of smoke which eventually gets into the lungs of women and children who spend much time in the house at night to cook, do homework or work.
With this Solar Lantern Rental System initiative, villagers replace their kerosene lamps for battery-powered solar lights and receive light without smoke and CO2 pollution. The solar lamps are charged in the village owned central charging station for a small fee, comparable to the fee for purchasing kerosene. With this contribution, the villagers at the same time invest in the future of the project: The charging station is operated by a local technician in the village. Using rental revenue, he buys parts for the lamps, and conducts regular maintenance on the lamps. This ensures that the system is well maintained and also gives the village technician an opportunity to make a living for themselves and their family.
"We are delighted that we have the opportunity to support this project. We are an enterprise that believes in the importance of social responsibility, and our customers react very positively to this engagement," said Michael M. Mermingas, owner of KaiserSolar.