Sunlabob's Solar Lanterns lighting up Laos, Uganda and Afghanistan





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Published on Nov 19, 2010

This is the latest video on Sunlabob's Solar Lantern Rental System and the impact it has in Laos, Uganda and Afghanistan.

Since its implementation in Laos in 2007, the Solar Lantern Rental System has received numerous international awards and worldwide recognition for its innovative operational model.

In 2008, Sunlabob launched a south-south business initiative with Ugandan company TSSD. Now solar powered charging stations are operating in a number of remote Ugandan villages. The franchise came about thanks to a prize won at the World Bank Group's Lighting Africa Development Marketplace in 2008.

In 2009, Sunlabob was approached by USAID, ASMED, and DAI to carry out an assessment of the feasibility of the solar lamp project in Afghanistan, taking account of the local human, social and technical constraints. One of the aims was to evaluate whether the Sunlabob approach to financing and establishing franchised SME energy service hubs in small remote villages could be replicated in Afghanistan.

The SLRS is a complete service package that combines established solar lantern technology with a sustainable operational model and continued monitoring and evaluation. A central charging station powered by a solar photovoltaic array can charge up to eight solar lanterns simultaneously, and is operated by a village entrepreneur/village technician, who is responsible for issuing fully-charged lanterns to customers, collecting rental fees, and maintaining the system.

The system is sustainable as the rental fees are able to sufficiently cover the day-to-day operational and maintenance costs, while also providing the village technician with an income. It is unique because end-users pay only for the service (i.e. the charging) and not for the hardware. This enables poor households to effectively rent hours of solar lighting, thereby offering a cleaner and safer alternative to the commonly used kerosene lamps.


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