Pan-Asia leadership program visits Laos, focuses on village electrification
Global Institute for Tomorrow (GIFT) executive education project examines business models for UN-supported rural mini-grid to be built by Sunlabob
Sunlabob’s team in Laos is continuing a long-time partnership with Hong Kong-based Global Institute for Tomorrow (GIFT), a pan-Asia think-tank and executive education provider.
As part of GIFT’s Global Leaders Programme, 29 participants from 19 countries in Asia-Pacific and Africa are visiting Laos to gain insights into new business models through direct work on a rural renewable energy field-project initiated by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).
Studer Innotec visits Sunlabob HQ for hands-on technical training
Studer Innotec, a Swiss manufacturer of sine wave inverters and inverter-chargers used in off-grid electrification applications, recently provided a two-day technical training with Sunlabob engineers in Vientiane, Laos.
Led by Claude Ruchet, Studer Innotec’s deputy director, the trainings focused on Studer’s product applications in off-grid, rural environments such as solar-hybrid village mini-grids or telecom base stations.
“Off-grid electrification is a continually evolving business,” said Andy Schroeter, CEO of Sunlabob. “Keeping up-to-date with new technologies and new approaches is fundamental to staying competitive, which is why business-to-business capacity building like this is so crucial.”
GSMA publishes Myanmar-focused Sunlabob case study on renewable energy for telecommunications
GSM Association (GSMA), the industry group representing mobile operators worldwide, recently published a case study detailing its work with Sunlabob in Myanmar exploring the potential for providing renewable energy to telecommunications towers.
The case study, which can be viewed here, marked the conclusion of GSMA and Sunlabob’s partnership that began in July 2014 to examine the technical, financial and operational elements required to establish an energy service company (ESCo) capable of meeting the demands of the quickly growing telecommunications industry in Myanmar.
Melanesia’s Million Miracle Program taps Sunlabob for solar lighting
The Million Miracle Program (M3P), a multi-stakeholder initiative focused on access to electricity in Melanesia, has chosen Sunlabob to provide 600 solar-powered lanterns centered on 16 locally-managed charging stations as well as the accompanying community training manuals.
Led by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the government energy departments in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, the M3P initiative aims to provide access to electricity services to more than 1 million residents of the three respective island nations.
Access to the central utility grid is as low as 12% in Papua New Guinea, 14% in the Solomon Islands and 28% in Vanuatu.
To supplement the technology, Sunlabob also will be providing written training manuals for the operators and end-users to facilitate proper operation and maintenance techniques in each community.
Rural Lao schools receive solar power systems and training
Multi-year partnership with Korean NGO enables off-grid electrification and renewable energy training programs
Sunlabob recently completed the installation of three solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at two schools in Xayaboury province to provide access to reliable electricity in the remote area of northwest Laos. The electricity will be used for lighting, ceiling fans, mobile phone charging and computers and printers at the schools’ office and dormitories.
Enabled through a multi-year partnership with the Energy and Climate Policy Institute for Just Transition (ECPI Korea), a civil society organization from Korea, the project also included technical training for the secondary school students and teachers to improve their general understanding of renewable energy and encourage self-sustaining operations and maintenance of the solar systems.
Myanmar Electric Power Convention turns to Sunlabob’s solar power perspective
Sunlabob CEO Andy Schroeter delivered a presentation at the 2nd Myanmar Electric Power Convention this week in Yangon, providing a private sector view of investment opportunities for developing off-grid solar power in Myanmar.
Schroeter discussed why decentralized solar power presents a favorable investment opportunity as well as a viable solution for helping to achieve the country’s goal of universal electrification by 2030.
“With nearly 70 percent of the country living without access to the central grid, decentralized solutions such a solar-powered mini-grids cannot be ignored,” said Schroeter. “Renewable energy can make an immediate impact in the thousands of villages, schools, hospitals and business not connected to the grid.”
Public-private partnership taps Sunlabob for Lao village electrification
Off-grid renewable energy enabled by United Nations and Government of Laos collaboration
Sunlabob recently finalized a public-private partnership agreement with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Government of Lao PDR to implement a renewable energy-based micro-grid in a rural, off-grid village of approximately 375 people.
The partnership with ESCAP and the Government’s Institute of Renewable Energy Promotion (IREP) will enable the electrification of 74 households in Ban Nam Ngim, a village in Xayabouly Province, in the northwest of Lao PDR.
Schneider Electric engineers visit Sunlabob headquarters for solar training
Sunlabob engineers at the company’s headquarters in Vientiane, Laos recently welcomed two product application engineers from Schneider Electric to conduct a two-day technical training focused on off- and on-grid solar power management.
Schneider Electric, one of the world’s largest providers of power conversion and electric distribution technologies, sent solar-focused engineers from Singapore and Malaysia to conduct training with charge controllers, inverters and communications and monitoring devices.
Solar power in Bokeo enabled by Plan International and Sunlabob partnership
International NGO and Lao renewable energy company bring more than 200 solar home systems to four remote Bokeo villages
Plan International, a non-governmental organization focused on child health and education, and Vientiane-based Sunlabob Renewable Energy recently completed the installation of 216 solar home systems in four villages of Bokeo Province.
The solar home systems will be used in Vang Lek, Phouviengxai, Kha Nong and La Ang Tai – all villages with low income levels, poor hygiene and health standards and limited education opportunities.
“Remote, isolated communities like these already lack access to adequate basic services such as healthcare and education,” said Andrew Hill, Plan International’s programme director. “Living without electricity further adds to the challenges in these communities. Solar energy is now helping to change that.”
Sunlabob shares off-grid solar insight at Myanmar Green Energy Summit
This week, Evan Scandling, Sunlabob’s regional director for Southeast Asia, presented at the Myanmar Green Energy Summit in Yangon to discuss opportunities and trends for developing off-grid solar power.
Scandling focused on the prospects for market-based solar energy development in rural areas of the country in which about 75 percent of the population currently doesn’t have access to the central electricity grid.
“With more than 40 million people living off the grid, the opportunity for decentralized renewable energy solutions like solar power cannot be ignored,” said Scandling. “Quite simply, the goals for economic and social development in Myanmar will not be achieved unless there is increased access to affordable, reliable electricity.”
Sunlabob and GSMA form MoU to explore green energy for Myanmar telecommunications
Partnership focuses on business models for supplying renewable energy to off-grid towers and rural communities in Myanmar
Sunlabob recently finalized a partnership with GSM Association (GSMA), the industry group representing mobile operators worldwide, to develop a business model for providing renewable energy services to telecommunication towers and rural communities in off-grid areas of Myanmar.
The engagement – which also includes Relitec, Sunlabob’s Myanmar partner – is driven by GSMA’s Green Power for Mobile program and will examine the technical, financial and operational elements necessary to run a energy service company (ESCO) that is capable of serving the quickly growing telecommunications industry in Myanmar.
Opinion: Mini-grids in rural communities – considerations for long-term viability
This article was originally published in Solar Business Focus on 14 July, 2014.
By Evan Scandling, Sunlabob Renewable Energy
June proved be a month for drumming up much-needed attention for renewable energy in Southeast Asia. The Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) regional hub for Asia-Pacific was launched by the United Nations and partners, and within a week the International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference was hosted in the region for the first time.
Despite the recent headlines and events, for those who look at the statistics, it has never been a secret that Southeast Asia holds massive potential for renewable energy growth, particularly in the form of decentralized solutions.
An estimated 130 million people in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region still live without access to centralized grid electricity. Considering that many of those people live in remote, isolated communities – such as one of Indonesia’s 18,000 different islands or in inaccessible areas of Laos – extending grid-connected electricity oftentimes isn’t economically or physically realistic.
CEO speaks at International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference
Sunlabob shares lessons learned and provides recommendations to encourage rural renewable energy market development
This week Sunlabob presented at the International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference (IOREC), a leading forum in Manila, Philippines hosted by the Asian Development Bank, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Alliance for Rural Electrification.
Andy Schroeter, CEO, spoke on a panel focusing on policy and regulatory mechanisms critical for stimulating market growth for standalone renewable energy in off-grid, rural environments.
Myanmar telecommunications forum showcases role of renewable energy
Sunlabob CEO presents renewable energy service model for rural telecommunications and communities
Sunlabob CEO Andy Schroeter recently presented at the “Green Power for Mobile” forum in Yangon, Myanmar. Hosted by the global telecommunications industry group GSMA Association (GSMA), the event brought together telecoms operators, tower companies, financiers and energy experts to discuss the best paths for utilizing renewable energy to facilitate the industry’s rapid growth in Myanmar.
Sunlabob’s presentation, in coordination with local partner Relitec, focused on the business opportunities for providing renewable energy supply to off-grid telecom towers and nearby rural communities.
“The enormous need for reliable energy in off-grid rural areas of Myanmar present a unique opportunity – economically, socially and environmentally – to employ renewable energy for the benefit of the telecommunications industry as well as rural people living without little to no access to electricity,” said Schroeter.
Sunlabob finalizes Myanmar partnership to strengthen renewable energy offering
Cooperation with Yangon-based Relitec to focus on renewable energy and clean water solutions
This week, Sunlabob Renewable Energy, the Laos-based rural renewable energy specialist, and Relitec, a Yangon-based sustainable energy company, finalized a partnership agreement to collaborate in addressing Myanmar’s growing demand for renewable energy.
“This partnership is an important step for both Sunlabob and Relitec to provide high-quality renewable energy solutions to Myanmar, a country greatly in need of reliable, affordable energy,” said Andy Schroeter, CEO, Sunlabob. “Sunlabob’s experience implementing rural, off-grid renewable energy throughout the developing world will complement Relitec’s on-the-ground knowledge of the local Myanmar market.”
Sunlabob lends Southeast Asia perspective at EE Global Forum
This week Sunlabob participated in EE Global Forum, a leading international annual gathering in Washington D.C. focused on advancing energy efficiency technology, policy and financing.
Sunlabob’s head of communications Evan Scandling spoke on a panel themed “Encouraging Small and Medium Enterprises to Invest In and Adopt Energy Efficiency” which brought together professionals from the United States, Europe and Southeast Asia to share lessons learned about barriers, opportunities and solutions to scaling up energy efficiency.
Scandling shared many of the key takeaways learned by Sunlabob, which was the first company in Laos registered to perform energy audits.
Sunlabob provides clean water to remote Laos mining operation
Sunlabob this week finalized an agreement with Phu Bia Mining to supply and install an ultra-filtration water treatment system at the company’s gold and silver mining site in Ban Houayxai, Laos.
With the ability to process up to 3,000 liters of water per hour, the system will provide clean water every day to the camp’s approximately 800 workers employed by Phu Bia, the Lao-registered company of Australia-based PanAust.
A representative from Phu Bia Mining said, “The sustainable provision of clean water at the Ban Houayxai site is part of our ongoing commitment to occupational health and safety.”
The water will be sourced from surface water from an upland stream near the camp.
Plan International partnership delivers lighting to rural Laos
Sunlabob and Plan to bring more than 200 solar home systems to four remote villages
Sunlabob recently finalized a partnership with the international non-profit organization Plan International to implement 216 solar home systems (SHS) in four villages of Bokeo Province, a remote, poor area of northwest Laos. The SHSs will be used in Vang Lek, Phouviengxai, Kha Nong and La Ang Tai – all villages with low income levels, poor hygiene and health standards and limited education opportunities.
Sunlabob is supplying, designing and installing the 20Wp solar systems as well as providing hands-on technical training to enable the villagers to maintain and manage the systems.
ASEAN energy community turns to Sunlabob for rural solar PV insight
Sunlabob this week contributed to the ASEAN Renewable Energy Week event held in Kuala Lumpur to offer practical lessons and perspectives regarding the development of solar energy-based mini-grids used for rural electrification.
Represented by Evan Scandling, the company’s head of communications, Sunlabob’s presentation focused on the unique insights it has gained through its more than decade of experience developing mini-grids and other solar-based electrification solutions throughout the ASEAN region, as well Africa and the Pacific islands.
“The key message is that rural electrification – particularly robust energy supply systems like mini-grids – is a complex and contextual endeavor,” said Scandling, who spoke to an international audience that included private sector, government and research representatives from the ASEAN region and North America.
Sunlabob provides private sector view at Pacific Regional Ministers’ Meeting
CEO highlights key opportunities and challenges for commercially-viable renewable energy growth in the Pacific islands
This week Andy Schroeter, CEO of Sunlabob, presented at the Pacific Regional Energy and Transport Ministers' Meeting, held in Nadi, Fiji to provide a private sector perspective on renewable energy development in Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs).
Highlighting Sunlabob’s experience with implementing on- and off-grid solar power in Pacific island countries such as Micronesia, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands, Schroeter identified barriers and provided recommendations for catalyzing private investments in renewable energy in the region.
Impact investor forum highlights Sunlabob business case
Toniic convenes first “Southeast Asia Deals” discussion; Sunlabob asked to present case study of success and future strategy
Sunlabob this week was a featured presenter during the “Southeast Asia Deals” webinar, hosted by Toniic, a global network of individual and institutional financiers focused on impact and social investments.
Through an invitation from Uberis Capital – a leading social venture capital firm and Toniic Host Member in Southeast Asia – Sunlabob outlined its foundation as a social enterprise in Laos, and its evolution to an internationally-focused company that today delivers its rural energy and clean water expertise throughout Southeast Asia, Africa and the Pacific islands.
Myanmar investor forum highlights off-grid renewable energy business opportunities
Sunlabob CEO presents rural energy business models, draws attention to “Telecom Tower—Village Power” and brownfield hybrid mini-grid approaches
This week Sunlabob presented and participated within the “Myanmar Investor Forum: Off-grid Renewable Energy Opportunities” hosted by the Asian Development Bank in the capital city of Nay Pyi Taw.
Andy Schroeter, Sunlabob CEO, spoke on the first day of the forum, focusing on business opportunities in the off-grid energy sector, particularly regarding the development of community-based mini-grids powered by solar and small-hydropower.
“Myanmar’s low rate of electricity access presents substantial opportunity for commercially-viable approaches to rural renewable energy development for years to come,” stated Schroeter. “The combination of rural energy demand, suitable consumer income levels and available natural resources create a very promising business case.”
Solar in Kiribati: from the classroom to the rooftop (photos)
Sunlabob continues to be quite active in the Pacific region, particularly in the Kiribati islands where Antony Watkins, the company’s head engineer has been embedded for more than six months, working on a daily basis to provide hands-on solar PV training for local engineers and technicians, primarily at the Kiribati Solar Energy Company (KSEC).
[click here to read the initial announcement of this project in August 2013]
The program led by Sunlabob – which is funded by the European Development Fund and managed by the government of Kiribati – is centered on Watkins providing technical instruction and supervision for on- and off-grid solar PV installation, as well as operation and maintenance techniques.
Sunlabob installs solar-powered LED streetlights in northwest Laos
Sunlabob engineers recently completed the installation of two solar-powered LED street lighting systems at a provincial forestry checkpoint in Sayaboury, a northwest province of Laos. The new source of lighting allows inspectors from the Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office to more effectively conduct its roadside checkpoint duties during the night.
The solar-powered LEDs contribute to Climate Protection through Avoided Deforestation (CliPAD), a program in partnership between Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Department of Forestry, Lao PDR.
Decentralized renewable energy key topic at Myanmar Power & Electricity Summit
Sunlabob this week spoke about the viability of renewable energy-based rural electrification at the Myanmar Power & Electricity Summit held in Yangon.
Represented by Evan Scandling, Head of Communications, Sunlabob conveyed the message that decentralized renewable energy –particularly solar photovoltaic power and small hydropower mini-grids – holds significant potential in Myanmar, a country currently with more than 40 million people not connected to the national electricity grid.
“Off-grid renewable energy is impossible to ignore as Myanmar develops its roadmap for electrification,” said Scandling. “The country has the right natural resources, a huge customer base that is demanding reliable energy supply and a long time horizon for extending the centralized national grid. Mini-grids will play a significant role in answering the electrification needs of Myanmar.”
Sunlabob brings rural renewable energy perspective to World Future Energy Summit
As part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the Middle East’s largest gathering about renewable energy, water scarcity and sustainable development, Sunlabob participated in several of the week’s events, bringing a unique on-the-ground view of renewable energy development in rural, remote areas of the world.
Sunlabob spoke on two panel discussions within the World Future Energy Summit, a conference and exhibition now in its seventh year attracting more than 20,000 business, civic and political leaders from around the globe to the United Arab Emirates to focus on clean technology and renewable energy issues. The week’s events also attracted six presidents, three prime ministers, 67 ministers and the heads of 144 international delegations.
Sunlabob helps launch new IRENA “Coalition for Action” as founding member
As part of the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) annual Assembly in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunlabob joined 35 other leading renewable energy advocates from both industry and civil society to launch the “Coalition for Action to Bolster Public Support for Renewable Energy.”
The Coalition – which was ratified by the Heads of State and Ministers from over 150 countries as well as representatives from 120 international organizations gathered for the IRENA Assembly – aims to communicate clear messages about renewable energy with both the public and policymakers around the world.
Opinion: The case for renewable energy mini-grids in rural electrification
By Evan Scandling, Head of Communications, Sunlabob Renewable Energy
Two of the heaviest hitters within the international development world – the United Nations and the World Bank – recently came together to underscore their efforts to activate financing dedicated to delivering modern energy access by 2030 to the 1 in 5 people globally currently living without electricity.
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim made it clear that an additional $600-$800 billion a year between now and 2030 will be needed from government, international agencies, civil society and the private sector to achieve universal electrification, as well as double renewable energy adoption and energy efficiency.
What hasn’t yet been made clear is how that financing will be targeted. Historically, donor aid and financing has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on energy infrastructure – but oftentimes the rural poor don’t reap the benefits. Only 8 percent of the World Bank’s energy financing in 2012 targeted the poor.