There are over 1.2 billion people across the world that live without access to electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. Panasonic developed a project to utilize portable solar lanterns to bring light to such communities in an effort to increase living standards, and contribute to the current Sustainable Development Goals.
Beginning with a donation of 3,000 lanterns to Myanmar in February 2013, the project has now donated over 50,000 solar lanterns to 80 organizations in 16 countries. The countries that have received the most lanterns are India (14,006 units), Myanmar (9.464 units), Cambodia (8,914 units) and Kenya (6,008 units).
Many of these households would have used kerosene lamps for light, which release harmful smoke and are fire hazards, before being given the solar lanterns. Not having steady access to electric lighting has a number of negative impacts on the lives of those living within the communities, including to their health, education and their safety at nighttime.
The two Panasonic products that are donated as part of the project are the Solar Lantern (BG-BL03) and the Solar LED Light (BG-BL04). The products take just 6 hours to charge, have an estimated battery life of 2 years, and have an estimated product life of 10 years.
The project passed its halfway landmark with a donation of 702 units to Yen Bai province in Vietnam on 10 March. With a busy list of donations to get through during the second half of March, the company hopes to have donated over 60,000 units by the end of March, and hopes that the 100,000 finish line will be crossed by 2018, in time for the 100th anniversary of Panasonics founding.