Feb 22, 2013

Press Release


By bringing solar light to regions without electricity, Panasonic is aiming to help improve living conditions around the worldwide, starting in Myanmar.

Osaka, Japan - Panasonic Corporation today announced the launch of the 100 THOUSAND SOLAR LANTERN PROJECT, a project to donate a total of 100,000 solar LED lanterns to people in regions of the world without electricity, by 2018, the 100th anniversary of the company's founding. As the first stage in this effort, Panasonic is donating 3,000 compact solar lights to NPOs and NGOs helping to solve social problems in Myanmar. A ceremony to mark this donation was held today at the Sedona Hotel Yangon in Yangon, Myanmar. Next month, Panasonic plans to donate an additional 5,000 compact solar lights to an NGO in India, along with 2,000 lights1 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 Africa2. 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. The lack of electric light in these regions means challenges in the areas of healthcare, education and the economy.

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 donation of the solar lanterns is one example of these efforts. By generating electricity from sunlight during the day and storing it in a battery, Panasonic's solar lantern 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.

A member of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), Myanmar is now promoting democratic and economic reforms, and anticipates significant economic growth in the near future. However, the country's electrification rate remains low at just 13%2, and there are still many challenges in various areas including education and healthcare. In order to help solve these kinds of social issues, Panasonic is providing compact solar lights to NPOs and NGOs working to improve Myanmar's education and healthcare.

In April 2011, Panasonic donated 1,000 solar LED lanterns to Tanzania through a UN agency, followed by 2,000 lanterns to Cambodia through an NGO in March 2012. Thanks to the bright light provided by these lanterns, users can effectively carry out healthcare, education, and economic activities even at night, without any of the health risks posed by kerosene lamps. Some households have even reported lower expenses now that they do not have to buy kerosene. Therefore, based on these past efforts, the 100 THOUSAND SOLAR LANTERN PROJECT is being launched with the firm belief that these lanterns can play a major role in helping to solve social issues in developing countries and newly emerging economies.

With the aim of becoming the No. 1 Green Innovation Company in the Electronics Industry by 2018, 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).

Four organizations in Myanmar slated to receive compact solar lights (in alphabetical order):
- Bridge Asia Japan (NPO)
- Greater Mekong Initiative (NPO)
- Japan Heart (NPO)
- Myanmar Red Cross Society

Project Web Site: http://panasonic.net/citizenship/lantern/

Children studying under the solar LED lanterns in Cambodia

Women weaving under the solar LED lanterns in Cambodia

1. In fiscal 2013 (April 2012 - March 2013), the initial year of the project, compact solar lights will be donated instead of solar lanterns.

2. Source: "World Energy Outlook 2011" International Energy Agency

About Panasonic

Panasonic Corporation is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture of electronic products in three business fields, consumer, components & devices, and solutions. Based in Osaka, Japan, the company recorded consolidated net sales of 7.85 trillion yen for the year ended March 31, 2012. Panasonic’s stock is listed on the Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and New York (NYSE:PC) Stock Exchanges. The company has the vision of becoming the No. 1 Green Innovation Company in the Electronics Industry by the 100th year of its founding in 2018. For more information on Panasonic, its brand and commitment to sustainability, visit the company's website at http://panasonic.net/.

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