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Children in India doing their homework using a solar LED lantern. Image via Panasonic
Electronics giant Panasonic is planning to donate up to 100,000 of its solar LED lanterns to people without electricity in several countries in Africa and Asia by 2018, the 100th anniversary of the company's founding.
The initiative, dubbed the 100 Thousand Solar Lantern Project, will see Panasonic donating its solar technology to electricity-deprived communities in developing countries, mainly in Asia and Africa.
In February, the company donated 3,000 of its compact solar lights to NGOs working in Burma in south-east Asia.
Panasonic has also donated 5,000 of these solar lights to NGOs and social enterprises in India, while communities in Kenya are also set to receive 2,000 lanterns in the near future.
The solar lantern operates by generating electricity from sunlight during the day and storing it in a battery. This means the lantern can be used as a small lighting fixture at night.
According to the International Energy Agency's 2011 World Energy Outlook, there are about 1.32bn people worldwide living without electricity, mainly in developing countries in Asia and Africa.
Many communities in these regions use kerosene lamps for lighting, but such lamps can pose fire risks as kerosene is highly flammable, as well as health risks as a result of the black carbon that's released.
Panasonic is aiming to have donated 100,000 of its solar lanterns to developing countries by 2018 to mark its 100th anniversary and to help such regions get better access to healthcare and education.