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Solar power in Bokeo enabled by Plan International and Sunlabob partnership

International NGO and Lao renewable energy company bring more than 200 solar home systems to four remote Bokeo villages

Plan International, a non-governmental organization focused on child health and education, and Vientiane-based Sunlabob Renewable Energy recently completed the installation of 216 solar home systems in four villages of Bokeo Province.

The solar home systems will be used in Vang Lek, Phouviengxai, Kha Nong and La Ang Tai – all villages with low income levels, poor hygiene and health standards and limited education opportunities.

“Remote, isolated communities like these already lack access to adequate basic services such as healthcare and education,” said Andrew Hill, Plan International’s programme director. “Living without electricity further adds to the challenges in these communities. Solar energy is now helping to change that.”

Aligned with Plan International’s objective of improving the lives, health and education of children, the solar home systems will help reduce the usage of kerosene lanterns and provide a cleaner, safer, and better source of lighting for the villagers.

Decreasing the use of kerosene-based lighting will eliminate the inhalation of harmful fumes and reduce the potential of accidental household fires.

The zero-emissions solar lighting also supports Plan International’s climate change adaption initiatives by reducing the use of carbon-emitting kerosene lanterns and raising awareness of clean, renewable energy.

The solar-based lighting will also enable adults to carry out productive, income generating activities later in the day and allow children to study schoolwork after dark.

Sunlabob designed, supplied, and installed the 216 solar systems. The company also employed its standard capacity building program of selecting and training local technicians in each village to ensure the solar systems can be maintained by the communities on a long-term, self-sustaining basis.

“This partnership is an excellent example of how access to energy isn’t only about providing electricity,” said Andy Schroeter, co-founder and CEO, Sunlabob. “Off-grid renewable energy solutions like solar home systems also complement broader development objectives such as education, health and income-generation.”