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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.

“Sunlabob is thrilled to be working with a partner like ECPI that fully understands the importance of capacity-building of renewable energy skills,” said Andy Schroeter, Sunlabob CEO. “Technology, such as solar PV, is only one part of the equation. End-users, such as these students and teachers, also must be provided with the necessary knowledge and training to manage and maintain the technology for the long-term.”

Sunlabob provided the material supply, system design, installation and commissioning as well as management of the end-user training.

The installation and training program is sponsored by Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and is receiving full cooperation from Xayaboury province’s Education and Sports Department and the Technical Vocational School.

As part of its mission to “expand renewable energy and a just transition as an alternative to climate change and energy crisis,” ECPI has supported secondary schools in Xaysathan and Xayaboury districts since 2009.

Trainees involved in the ECPI program, which have included students at the Xayaboury Technical Vocational School, have learned about installation and maintenance techniques for off-grid solar power as well as pico-hydropower systems.

The current program, announced earlier in 2014 by ECPI will continue through 2016, providing more opportunity for further solar power installation and training.