The Gift of Light - VideoTuesday 14th May 2013
We have posted in the past about the efforts of certain social entrepreneurs to provide lights powered by renewable energy - generally solar, to the populations in the developing world. It always seems to be just a lone individual, with a devoted team behind them, trying to turn back the tide of the masses with no access to grid supplied power. We are glad to note electronic colossus Panasonic are in on the act.
Panasonic note that currently, there are about 1.32 billion people worldwide living without electricity, primarily in parts of Asia and Africa.
Many people in these regions have to use kerosene lamps for lighting, but as we have commented before, these lamps pose the risk of fire and their smoke is harmful to human health. They also give off a poor, weak light. The lack of electric light in these regions brings challenges in healthcare, education and the economy.
In 2006 the Republic of Uganda's Minister of State for the Vice-President's Office visited Japan, and he took a tour of the Solar Ark, Panasonic’s solar photovoltaic power generation facility. After returning to Uganda, the Minister of State sent Panasonic a letter, explaining the current situation of the people in unelectrified areas in Uganda. He indicated that our solar cell technology would be very useful for improving living conditions in these regions.
Panasonic began to study how it could help solve this problem - leading to the development of the Panasonic solar lantern. Since then Panasonic have donated and sold solar lanterns in conjunction with NGOs and UN organizations in African and Asian countries.
Now the Panasonic Corporation has launched a 100 THOUSAND SOLAR LANTERN PROJECT. The aim of the project is to donate a total of 100,000 solar LED lanterns to people in regions of the world without electricity, by 2018, the 100th anniversary of the company's founding.
As the first stage in this effort, Panasonic is donating 8,000 compact solar lights to NPOs and NGOs helping to solve social problems in Myanmar (3,000 units), India (5,000 units) along with 2,000 lights to a refugee camp in Africa throughout the financial year 2012.
Well done Panasonic for proving to be a little more than a faceless, self-serving corporation, although you will rightly make some publicity from this, so you should. Renewable energy can change the lives of us all - but for some it is a life saver.
Tuesday 14th May 2013