Off-grid solar power systems are an ideal way to expand rural electrification in countries limited by underdeveloped energy infrastructure, such as Laos. This is because extending the grid is often not financially viable in remote areas. Solar power systems are proven to deliver consistent, cost-effective electricity to villagers and residents in these places, particularly in rural settings.
For the second consecutive year, Yingli is proud to be part of an effort to positively impact off-grid communities by providing 4 kW of solar panels to power a school and a health clinic in rural Laos. The two 2 kW off-grid systems are now operational, providing electricity to each site for the first time. The school is located in Phongasavang and the health clinic is located in Lad Khammune. “The project is reflective of Yingli’s larger efforts to improve the lives of communities around the world with clean, affordable solar power,” said Angie Koh, Managing Director of Yingli Solar Singapore.
The planning, training and execution of the projects took six months. Partners included Rezeca Renewables, a leading system integrator in Singapore; the Young Men’s Christian Association of Singapore (“YMCA of Singapore”), a volunteer International Service Organization serving the local community in Laos; MyLaoHome Hotels & Villas, a key local community logistics partner; student volunteers Aspirant from the Youth Corps Singapore; and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Earthlink Club, who supported in the laying of electrical wiring and installation of lights, fans and other equipment. The same organizations partnered with us to bring solar power to another rural school in Lad Khammune last year. Mr Zachary Wang, Rezeca Renewables said in a statement, “We are delighted to once again be part of this CSR journey with Yingli Solar, engaging in rural projects providing solar electrification to underdeveloped communities.”
The YMCA of Singapore selected the communities of Phongsavang and Lad Khammune to receive these systems because the local government would be unable to provide adequate electricity supply within the next five years. Yingli solar panels, system equipment, installers, and volunteers all traveled 5 hours by boat from the city of Luang Prabang to arrive at the remote locations in order to install them.
The team split into two groups, with NTU Earthlink students working in Ban Phongsavang and Aspirant from Youth Corps of Singapore working in Ban Khammune Health Center. Rezeca Renewables and Yingli representatives traveled between villages to manage the installation of the solar systems. The two groups worked tirelessly throughout day and night with a common goal in mind: to bring sustainable energy to the villagers. In return, the villagers received us with utmost hospitality and assisted us throughout the installation.
Mr Xieng Tui, Ban Lad Khammune Village Chief said, “We are grateful to the volunteers for bringing electricity to the school last year, it has provided a better environment for our children to study.” He added, “This year, we are glad to have the volunteers back to power the health clinic which will aid the health staff in proper health screening, safe prescription and administering of medications.”
The week spent installing the systems have been a privilege to Yingli, getting to experience first-hand the warm hospitality of the Laotians, culture and how ecological renewable energy can positively impact people’s lives, more so in rural areas. Electricity, a simple provision taken for granted by many around the world, will improve the inhabitants’ quality of life by bringing enhancement to education and healthcare facilities.