Panasonic Corporation launched the “100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project” in 2012 and has donated over 80,000 units to non-electrified areas across 22 countries so far. This is Panasonic’s centennial 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.
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.”
In Africa, about 15,000 units have been donated already to 10 countries through international organizations and NGOs. The new donation improves the figures to approximately 16,000 units and 13 countries.
Panasonic targets at donating 100 thousands of solar lanterns to powerless regions by 2018. Data shows that 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. By using solar lanterns, people living in powerless areas can enjoy better lives while avoiding health hazard caused by fire lamps. Safety, education, healthy cares will all be improved through solar lanterns.
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. Solar-related moves include the solar lanterns project and 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® and a high-capacity lithium-ion battery finished second after completing 4,544.2 km.