News 2013

PHOTO TOUR: Visiting solar lantern rental systems in southern Lao PDR

A team of Sunlabob engineers and community trainers recently traveled to Savannakhet Province in southern Lao PDR for a check-up visit to six remote, off-grid villages utilizing Solar Lantern Rental Systems (SLRS) originally established in 2011.

The six solar-powered charging stations, consisting of 300 lanterns, were installed in partnership with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation as an affordable, safer alternative to traditional kerosene lamps that create jobs and revenue within the poor communities.

More than 1000 villagers have access to the rental systems, primarily using the lanterns for cooking, working, studying and charging mobile phones.

Before the SLRSs were established in 2011, villagers fully relied on inadequate and unhealthy forms of lighting solutions including burning kerosene, candles, wood and non-reusable battery torches.

Furthermore, most villagers used to spend around 20,000 LAK on kerosene each month. Now even the heaviest users of the lantern rental system spend less than half of this amount on lantern rental fees.

To enable the sustainability and self-sufficiency of the SLRS, a Village Energy Committee was established in each of the six villages to own and oversee the program. Village Technicians, trained by Sunlabob, are responsible for maintaining the system and managing the rental business. The income collected from the charging fees is divided into three parts: 50% for maintenance and the remaining allocated to the Village Technician and Village Energy Committee as payment for their services.

The following slideshow provides a glimpse into Sunlabob’s recent visits, which consisted of meetings with the Village Technicians and Committees to ensure technical proficiency of the systems and evaluations of the bookkeeping and financial records of the rental businesses.

For more information about the solar lanterns, please view here.