Panasonic India has announced the launch of the 100 THOUSAND SOLAR LANTERN PROJECT, a project to contribute a total of 100,000 solar LED lights to people in regions in the world without electricity, by 2018, the year marking 100th anniversary of the company's founding. By the end of this fiscal year Panasonic plans to contribute a total of 10,000 units of solar lights in 3 strategic regions across Asia and Africa. As the first stage of this effort, 3,000 solar lights were provided in February in Myanmar. In a ceremony held today at New Delhi, 5,000 compact solar lights were allotted to off-grid areas in India and the additional 2,000 lights will be given to a refugee camp in Africa.
Currently, there are about 1.32 billion people worldwide living without electricity, mainly in developing countries in Asia and Africa1.Many homes in these regions use kerosene lamps for lighting, but these lamps pose the risk of fire and the smoke released by the lamps is also harmful to human health. Since kerosene lamps also do not provide sufficient light, they significantly restrict what people can do at night while creating considerable hazards for them.
In order to help solve the various problems in these non-electrified regions, Panasonic has been promoting corporate citizenship projects by actively utilizing its core technologies and products. The contribution of the solar lights is one example of these efforts. By generating electricity from sunlight during the day and storing it in a battery, Panasonic's solar lights can be used as a small lighting fixture at night. It poses no risk of fire or harm to human health, and generates no CO2 emissions during use.
This project in India has been launched in collaboration with four leading NGO’s (non-profit organizations) and SE (Social Enterprise) to tackle social issues by contributing 5,000 units of solar lights in FY 2012.These include the World Health Partners, Swayam Shikshan Prayog, Plan International India and Sahaj in the areas of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
Some of the notable activities planned through these initiatives are:
· Empowering Communities living in off grid areas
· Enabling Medical care service at night to promote the healthcare campaign for bottom of the pyramid
Commenting on this initiative Mr. Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary, Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, Govt of India said “There is a severe imbalance in demand and supply of power and India risks facing an energy crisis. Renewable energy can help improve the situation to a large extent as it is no longer considered as an ‘alternate energy’ source; rather it is expected to play a significant role in helping meet the nation’s energy needs. There is no disputing the power of clean, renewable energy in the present world and the contribution of solar lights to non-electrified areas is a one of its kind initiative by Panasonic which will help solve various existing social issues. I would like to commend Panasonic for promoting such corporate citizenship projects in India by lending a hand to country’s growth.”
Ms. Michiko Ogawa, General Manager, CSR & Corporate Citizenship Group, Panasonic Corporation marked the occasion by passing the solar lights to NGO and SE representative. Commenting on this initiative she said “Panasonic has already enriched the lives of a considerable population in the world by contributing successful solar lights in association with international institutions, NPOs and NGOs in Africa, Cambodia and Japan. The 100 THOUSAND SOLAR LANTERN PROJECT is being launched with the firm belief that these lights can play a major role in helping to solve social issues in developing countries and newly emerging economies.”
Also, present on the occasion Mr. Manish Sharma, Managing Director, Consumer Product Division, Panasonic India said “Panasonic will continue to strengthen efforts towards achieving sustainable development in the country though undertaking various activities across education, health and environment. India has a tremendous growth potential but, it is marred by a number of infrastructure problems, chief amongst them is electricity deficiency. Contributing solar lights to off-grid areas not only adds majorly towards the development and empowerment of India but also brings Panasonic one step closer to its aim of becoming No.1 Green Innovation Company by 2018. In addition to this, we are hopeful that this initiative will make a difference in building country’s future as a support center for off-grid areas“
Panasonic will continue to donate solar lanterns to developing countries and newly emerging countries in Asia and Africa, where many people live without electricity. The company is striving to help improve living conditions in these regions and is carrying out initiatives to help achieve sustainable development and the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Making the 'environment' central to all of its business activities, Panasonic aims to offer a better living to people around the world with peace of mind, comfort and joy in a sustainable way.