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Oct 29, 2013

Panasonic to Release Solar LED Lantern for People Living in Areas Without Electricity

The solar lantern, fully rechargeable in six hours and emitting light 360 degrees, is convenient and practical as a light source as well as a power source in areas without electricity.

Osaka, Japan - Panasonic Corporation today announced that it will start selling a solar LED lantern that doubles as a charger for people living in areas without electricity. With a built-in rechargeable battery to store solar energy during the day, the lantern provides light at night and can also be used as a power source to charge small mobile devices, such as mobile phones. The company plans to bring the lantern to regions without electricity, starting from Asia and Africa in December this year. The functions of the BG-BL03 Solar LED Lantern, such as 360-degree illumination and a charging time of approximately 6 hours*1, make it practical and convenient for everyday use in these areas.

About 1.3 billion people*2, or approximately 20%*2 of the world's population, are still living without electricity. Many of these people use kerosene lamps for lighting. However, kerosene lamps not only fail to provide sufficient light but also emit toxic fumes and pose a fire risk. In addition, there are also problems with the infrastructure for charging mobile phones, which have become a popular communication tool in areas without electricity.

Panasonic's new Solar LED Lantern, with a 3.5-watt output solar panel and a USB port, offers a clean and safe alternative as a light source as well as a power source for people living in areas without electricity. The portable lantern can be used in homes and various other locations including hospitals, schools, shops and outdoors. The lantern can be charged in about six hours to provide up to six hours of light*3 at the maximum brightness setting.

The Solar LED Lantern will be launched in Kenya, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Malaysia, followed by other countries. Starting with the solar lantern, its first product for BOP*4 markets, Panasonic will continue to accelerate the development of BOP markets and strengthen product development to help improve the lives of people in regions without electricity.

Last year, as part of its corporate citizenship activities, Panasonic launched the "100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project", with the goal of donating a total of 100,000 solar electric lights*5 to people in regions of the world without electricity by 2018, the 100th anniversary of the company's founding, through local social institutions including NPOs and NGOs.

*1. Estimated time for fully charging a completely discharged battery outdoors on a sunny day. Charging time will vary depending on factors such as the remaining battery level and ambient temperature.

*2. IEA World Energy Outlook, 2012

*3. Estimated time when used at room temperature with the battery fully charged. Battery duration will depend on factors such as ambient temperature and the brightness setting.

*4. BOP refers to the Base of the Pyramid, the low-income group in developing countries. BOP markets are unique in that companies can contribute to solving social problems in these markets while pursuing improvement in their business value by developing business in these markets.

*5. In 2012, the first year of the project, Panasonic donated compact solar lights, instead of solar lanterns. The compact solar light has an LED light and a solar panel integrated in one unit and is rechargeable via a USB port. (Sold in Japan only)

[Features]

1. Light suitable for everyday life with 360-degree illumination

The lantern contains five LEDs and is designed to emit light 360 degrees. This wide emission angle makes it suitable for use in everyday life such as at family dinners and for children studying. With a touch of button on the lantern, the brightness can be adjusted between High (100 lx), Medium (40 lx) and Low (6 lx). The lantern has a handle, which allows for flexibility in setting up the light. It can be hung in the room, placed on a table or carried with the user.

Above : The three brightness settings, from left, Low, Medium and High
Right : Six ways of usage: it can be used as a portable lamp, put on a table or hung in the room.

2. A 3.5 W solar panel which recharges the battery in approximately 6 hours, giving 6 hours of use

The Solar LED Lantern is designed to be fully charged in one day and last one night so that it is useful for everyday life in areas without electricity. With a 3.5 W solar panel, the lantern's built-in battery can be fully charged in appoximately six hours under fine weather conditions. When fully charged, the battery run time is approximately six hours on High setting, about 15 hours on Medium and roughly 90 hours when set at Low*4.

3. Power source for mobile phones with a USB port

The Solar LED Lantern has a USB port, via which small devices such as mobile phones can be charged. A mobile phone with a 700mAh capacity battery can be fully charged in approximately two hours*6. The fully-charged lantern can provide enough power to charge such a mobile phone once or twice*6.

*6. Estimated by Panasonic assuming an output of 6.5V/0.5A. Actual charging time and the number of possible charges will vary depending on such factors as ambient temperature and the type of mobile phone.

4. IP34*7- rated protection against dust and water

The Solar LED Lantern can be used safely in the rain, as it comes with an ingress protection rating of IP34*7 set by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for dust and water resistance.

The Solar LED Lantern has been awarded the Good Design Award 2013, which is organized by Japan Institute of Design Promotion, and the IAUD Award 2013 which is organized by International Association for Universal Design.

*7. Protected against solid objects, like tools and wires, greater than 2.5 mm in diameter or thickness as well as water spray from any direction. The lantern is not protected against submersion in water.

[Specifications]

Product name Solar LED Lantern
Model number BG-BL03
LED brightness setting High Medium Low
Luminance 100 lx 40 lx 6 lx
Operation time Approx. 6 hours Approx. 15 hours Approx. 90 hours
Charging time Approx. 6 hours (rechargeable via solar panel only)
Battery Nickel-metal hydride battery
Solar panel output 3.5 W
Size Lantern: Approx. 138 (L) x 133 (W) x 60mm (H)
Solar panel: Approx. 206 (L) x 186(W) x 39mm (H)
Weight Lantern: Approx. 400g, Solar panel: Approx. 630g
Solar LED Lantern Lantern

Website for 100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project:
http://panasonic.net/sustainability/en/lantern/

About Panasonic

Panasonic Corporation is a worldwide leader in the development and engineering of electronic technologies and solutions for customers in residential, non-residential, mobility and personal applications. Since its founding in 1918, the company has expanded globally and now operates over 500 consolidated companies worldwide, recording consolidated net sales of 7.30 trillion yen for the year ended March 31, 2013. Committed to pursuing new value through innovation across divisional lines, the company strives to create a better life and a better world for its customers. For more information about Panasonic, please visit the company's website at http://panasonic.net/.

Media Contacts:

Tokyo Public Relations Office
Panasonic Corporation
Tel: +81-(0)3-3574-5664 Fax: +81-(0)3-3574-5699
Panasonic News Bureau
Tel: +81-(0)3-3542-6205 Fax: +81-(0)3-3542-9018
*The content in the following news releases is accurate at the time of publication but may be subject to change without notice. Please note therefore that these documents may not always contain the most up-to-date information.

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