Panasonic develops solar lantern for people living without electricity


Panasonic Corp said Monday that it has developed a solar lantern that doubles as a charger for people living 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 like mobile phones. The company said it plans to bring the lantern to the market in autumn this year after conducting marketing research in off-grid areas in Asia and Africa.

A prototype of the new solar lantern will be displayed at official side events at the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) to be held from June 1 to 3 in Yokohama.

About 1.32 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, people living off-grid are facing a problem of charging their mobile phones, which have become a popular communication tool for them.

To meet those challenges, Panasonic said its solar lantern provides clean and safe lighting and a power source. The company said it will further refine the solar lantern to make it practical and convenient for everyday use by taking into account such specifications as brightness, charging time and battery run time in addition to the charging function for mobile phones and other small devices.

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Hardly seems newsbreaking seeing as how Solarius and Goal Zero have been on this for years already. Goal zero even has a larger unit that can run small appliances.

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How clean can it be? Those rechargeable batteries have to be disposed of SOMEHOW.

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Wondering about the price..

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Fadamor: Rechargeable batteries are recyclable. Since the chemistry is different, there will be different streams for NiCad, Lithium, and that old standby, lead acid. Here in the USA they are already established along with the mercury containing fluorescent lamp drop off bins. Rob: Me, too. I've seen walkway lights for sale under $2.50 but the Panasonic lamps would abviously be larger. I could have used one a couple days ago when the power went out and didn't come back until 1:30 AM.

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Here in the USA they are already established along with the mercury containing fluorescent lamp drop off bins.

This product is targeted at off-grid areas in Asia and Africa.

These regions suffer enough from our toxic e-waste without generating their own. Good point, Fadamor.

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