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, make it practical and convenient for everyday use in these areas.
About 1.3 billion people, or approximately 20% 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 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 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 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. 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.
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.
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. The fully-charged lantern can provide enough power to charge such a mobile phone once or twice.
4. IP34- 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 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.
Explore further: New battery technology for electric vehicles