Solar Power for Rural Communities

The purpose of this project is to provide support to install solar electric systems for income generating appliances to rural low-income households and local businesses.

By

SunSawang Company Limited

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Social causes

Beneficiaries

SDGs covered

Endorsed by

Market of Implementation

  • Thailand

Problem

Energy, specifically electrification, is the backbone of development. However, globally one person in five lacks access to electricity supply. Of those without access to energy, 84% live in rural areas, such as in the villages on the Thailand-Myanmar border region*. These villages, located on remote forested mountains, do not have basic grid-connected electricity supply resulting in both short and long-term health and safety risks, and decreased productivity. At night, villagers depend on light from candles or kerosene lamps that are unreliable, expensive, and pose a serious fire risk, exacerbated by the fact that homes are often constructed in clusters using bamboo, dried leaves and other natural materials that can easily catch fire. Firelight and kerosene lamps also produce toxic fumes that negatively impact family members’ health, particularly children, and can create chronic pulmonary health problems.

Solution

Because the needs of SunSawang’s beneficiaries are basic, the comparable solutions in this niche market is the availability of simple substitutes. The existing practice to obtain illumination in these areas is through the use of kerosene lamps or candles. A safer but more expensive substitute is utilizing car batteries, which requires frequent trips to diesel generator charging stations. Both kerosene lamps and candles pose fire hazards and only inefficiently provide light. In fact, kerosene lamps provide only 1% of global lighting, yet are responsible for 20% of lighting related CO2 emissions. Worse yet, household use of kerosene and to a smaller extent diesel contributes black carbon to the atmosphere – the most absorbent form of particulate matter by mass. Thus, one kilogram of black carbon absorbs as much solar light in two weeks as 700 kilograms of carbon dioxide circulating in the atmosphere for 100 years. Currently, SunSawang offers four types of solar products and service tiers. Tier 1 (lantern) and Tier 2 (lantern and phone charger) require full payment without maintenance service. Tier 3 (home system) offer five-year service and payment contract. Tier 4 (training & installation) offers system installations up to 5,000 Watts including technical training on operation and maintenance. These products are each backed by warranties, and installed, serviced and maintained by our trained local technicians.

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