News 2012

Sunlabob expands Pacific Islands presence with 3500 solar lanterns and membership to SEIAPI


To complement its existing projects and partnerships in the Pacific Islands, Sunlabob recently accepted membership to the Sustainable Energy Industry Association of the Pacific Islands (SEIAPI), the industry body focused on scaling up awareness, research and adoption of renewable energy in the region.

Sunlabob is currently working with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) to supply 3500 solar-powered lanterns and 70 lantern charging stations in Micronesia. The solar charging stations, which were designed by Sunlabob’s engineers, will be used in schools and community centers throughout multiple Micronesian villages to provide lighting for better education opportunities, community building activities and economic development.

“In a region where 70% of the inhabitants – nearly 7 million people – live without reliable access to electricity, there is a significant, urgent need for sustainable energy,” said Andy Schroeter, Sunlabob founder and CEO. “Living without power means that Pacific Islanders also suffer the disadvantages of poor healthcare facilities, insufficient job opportunities and subpar education services. We hope to help enable these basic human rights through the use of renewable energy.”

Previously, Sunlabob partnered with the SPC to supply, install and provide training for 1500 Solar Home Systems as part of the Outer Island Electrification Programme in the Marshall Islands, a project recently concluded.

While the Pacific Islands experience abundant sunshine and many of the nations possess large capabilities for solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy, the region is still heavily dependent on expensive imported fossil fuels. Diesel generators continue to be the main source of electricity in the region that, due to the isolated nature of its geography, cannot establish a unified electric grid.

The electricity access rates of the several island nations vary from 98 percent in Samoa to 13 percent in Papua New Guinea, but overall about 70 percent of the region’s population of 10 million lacks access to power.

“The challenges of off-grid clean energy development in the Pacific Islands are very similar to the hurdles that we’ve faced for years in Laos – isolated locations, poor infrastructure, a lack of financial resources – but the benefits of energy access are the same,” added Schroeter. “Reliable energy catalyzes economic progress, improves health and advances education opportunities – it is a common thread of sustainable development.”

Sunlabob will work with SEIAPI and its members to help build awareness of the benefits of sustainable energy – economically, socially and environmentally – as well as explore new projects and avenues for implementing renewable energy.