JOHANNESBURG—Since 2012, Panasonic Corporation has been working on the 100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project, a project that aims to donate a total of 100 thousand solar lanterns to the world’s non-electrified areas by 2018, which is the centennial of Panasonic’s foundation. As part of the effort, the company donated a total of 1,584 solar lanterns for the first time to three nonprofit organizations (NGOs) working in the three countries of the Republic of South Africa, Kingdom of Swaziland, and Kingdom of Lesotho. Today, a donation ceremony was held at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa.
By utilizing solar lanterns, children are able to learn safely (Photo: Business Wire)
The donation ceremony, held by the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa, was attended by government officials from the Republic of South Africa and Shigeyuki Hiroki, Ambassador of Japan in the Republic of South Africa.
Shigeyuki Hiroki said in his speech that “We expect to further promote more effective use of donated solar lanterns in these three countries as a promising renewable energy.”
Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, noted in his speech that 2018 would mark the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela himself and said that “We are challenging to change the quality of living in South Africa. The lighting would contribute to improve daily life. The Foundation supports Panasonic’s solar lantern project activities and helps people’s better living by the donations of the lanterns to non-electrified areas.”
At present, approximately 1.2 billion people are living in areas without electricity*, which accounts for about 16% of the world population, of which approximately 600 million people are in African countries. Although many households in these areas without electricity use kerosene lamps for lighting, its smoke poses a health hazard and exposes people to the risk of fire.
By utilizing solar lanterns, children will be able to learn safely and women’s groups can engage in activities that create income at night in the community, which will help them improve their lives and help a sustainable society. Moreover, this reduces the economic burden of fuel purchase costs.
First time donation of 1,584 Solar Lanterns to South Africa, Swaziland, and Lesotho (Photo: Business Wire)
In order to contribute to resolving these social issues, Panasonic has been promoting corporate social responsibility (corporate citizenship activities) by proactively using the company’s core technologies and products, and as part of this, has been implementing the 100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project. This donation activity is an initiative to contribute to the global goals of Poverty, Health Care and Welfare, Education, Energy, etc. that constitute the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) put into effect by the United Nations in 2016.
Through this project, the company has donated a total of approximately 81,000 units to 19 countries so far. In Africa, about 15,000 units have been donated already to 10 countries through international organizations and NGOs. This donation to three African countries now makes the total of donated lanterns approximately 83,000 units to 22 countries, and among them, about 16,000 units have been delivered to 13 African countries.
In addition, at the Sasol Solar Challenge, a solar car race held in South Africa last year, a solar car team from Tokai University equipped with Panasonic’s solar cell module HIT(R) and a high-capacity lithium-ion battery finished second after completing 4,544.2 km.
Panasonic will accelerate this activity until 2018, in order to deliver a better life to the people living in the regions without electricity through the 100 Thousand Solar Lantern Project utilizing the company’s core products and technologies.
*Source: International Energy Agency World Energy Outlook 2016
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