Panasonic Corporation is promoting its “100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project,” in which a total of 100,000 solar lanterns will be donated to regions around the world without access to electricity by the year 2018, which marks the 100th anniversary since Panasonic's establishment. In hopes of getting more people to know about the challenges faced by people in regions without access to electricity, Panasonic will open up the "Cut Out the Darkness" project for participation to people all around the world, delivering solar lanterns and manufactured shades based on designs recruited from all over the world to schools and households located in regions without access to electricity.
Currently, there are approximately 1.3 billion people worldwide living their lives without electricity. Many of those people live in homes that commonly use kerosene lamps for lighting, but the fire and smoke from these lamps pose serious fire and health risks. Unable to emit sufficient light, they also significantly restrict what people can do at night. The lack of electric lighting in these regions means significant challenges in the areas of health, education, and the economy. In this situation, solar lanterns, which can be used as lighting at night thanks to power stored in the battery which is generated by the sunlight during daytime, reduces the dangers of fire inherent to kerosene lamps, health hazards from smoke, and CO2 emissions. The project is beginning to solve the challenges faced by regions without access to electricity.
During Phase 1 of the "Cut Out the Darkness" project, 100 designs chosen by popular vote were used to produce shades, and were donated to Sumba, Indonesia, in March 2014. A video featuring shots taken during the donation was released on the "Cut Out the Darkness" website, sharing the thoughts of the people who designed the shades and the joys of the local people who received the solar lantern donations.
For Phase 2 (second donation phase) this time around, Panasonic will recruit shade designs centered on the theme of "animals." Similarly to Phase 1, the top 100 designs chosen by popular vote will be turned into shades and donated. With the donated lanterns, a "Zoo of Light" will be created, in hopes of bringing the entertainment of light to those people living in regions with no access to electricity.
This time around, we are also collaborating with the online community of artists and designers, "Behance Japan," to attract participation from individuals interested in art and design. We are hoping to have as many people as possible to submit designs, and by having people vote on the submitted designs, spread awareness and understanding of the challenges faced in regions with no access to electricity.