News 2013

Part Two: Visiting rural Lao clean energy and water projects (PHOTOS)

A small group of our staff recently travelled across seven Lao provinces to visit several existing Sunlabob projects, which ranged from a solar PV village grid powering the small, off-grid community of Ban Phakeo to the industrial-scale decentralized wastewater treatment facility that Sunlabob established at the campus facilities of Theun Hinbun Power Company, one of the largest hydropower producers in Laos.

The takeaway: Sunlabob offers a wide variety of renewable energy-based solutions and has the ability to successfully implement them within many different contexts for a diversity of customers and beneficiaries.

This is the second installment of photos, which like our initial slideshow, provides a glimpse of the many approaches and solutions that Sunlabob employs to enable access to clean energy and water:

1. Solar-powered refrigeration and cooling at health centers in Ban Ta Oy, Salavan Province, Laos

Partners: Asian Development Bank, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Lao PDR

In 2012-13, Sunlabob partnered with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to supply, install and provide community training for 44 solar-powered refrigeration and cooling systems across five provinces of southern Laos. We had the opportunity to see the technology in action, effectively storing an array of medications and vaccinations that the 300 person village of Ta Oy previously had to have delivered by truck on a regular basis.

Our team was fortunate enough to speak at length with Mr. Khammany, the one medical professional in the community. He told us that he’s seen lower rates of illness and better general overall health since the community gained instant access to many critical medicines and vaccines. For more information about Sunlabob’s solar refrigeration and cooling work with ADB, please read here.

2. Solar Lantern Rental Systems (SLRS) in Ban Ta Oy, Salavan Province, Laos

Partner: Germany Embassy of Laos

In addition to the solar refrigeration and cooling units, the community of Ta Oy is also tapping into the power of the sun with the Solar Lantern Rental System that Sunlabob introduced in partnership with the Germany Embassy in 2011. Ta Oy, in addition to six other villages in Salavan without access to the national electricity grid, has been able to largely replace unsafe kerosene lamps since the 50-lantern solar charging station was installed. Sunlabob also provided villagers with hands-on technical training, as well as bookkeeping and financial management skills allowing them to self-sufficiently manage the rental systems and generate income that stays in the community.

Keo Noy, a woman in Ta Oy, told us that in addition to the superior lighting and health benefits of the solar lanterns, she and other villagers have been able to save significant amounts of money each month now that they spend little to no money on expensive kerosene fuel. Her additional money saved is used for unexpected costs such as medical help for a sick family member, or even “luxury” goods like fish sauce that were previously unattainable.

3. Solar-powered pumping and supply of clean water in Ban Vilabouly, Savannakhet Province

Partner: Minerals & Metals Group (MMG)


As part of its community development efforts, MMG Sepon – a multinational mining company operating a gold and copper mine near Ban Vilabouly – contracted Sunlabob to undertake detailed research of the surrounding community needs. Our team identified 12 villages requiring support, including better water quality and sanitation. The water resources for these villages were poor; they were suffering from scarcities and quality concerns in the dry season, silting in the wet season and were located too far away to be collected by hand.

Sunlabob installed water supply systems in the 12 villages, opening access to improved water sources for up to 4,000 villagers. The project is an excellent example of a successful private sector partnership in the rural development field. More information here.