Vientiane, Laos – This week, two vehicles featuring solar-powered electronics and multimedia systems designed and installed by Sunlabob Renewable Energy were unveiled by the Lao PDR’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) and the German development agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
A 14-seat bus and eight-meter box truck will tour throughout Lao PDR as tools to increase knowledge about environmental protection, biodiversity and climate change as part of the Lao-German Cooperation Project ProCEEd (Promotion of Climate-related Environmental Education). The solar photovoltaic systems installed on the rooftops of each vehicle provide 4-5 hours of energy for the electronics systems.
Both vehicles are equipped to accommodate education activities such as interactive games, debates or exhibitions and have multimedia systems to allow for movies, video clips and photos to be displayed at schools or village community gatherings.
“Utilizing clean energy sources like solar power is only one pillar of long-term, sustainable development,” said Andy Schroeter, CEO of Sunlabob, the Laos-based company that has provided renewable energy and clean water access in rural areas of Southeast Asia, Africa and the Pacific region for more than a decade. “Education programs and awareness-building are also vital to addressing the environmental challenges and opportunities in Laos.”
Sunlabob was responsible for the supply, design and installation of the solar energy and electronics aspects of both vehicles.
The 14-seater bus features 1.45 kW of roof-mounted solar panels, a 32 inch indoor television and a 4.3 meter projection screen on the outside of the bus, which will be used to display educational films and materials during community presentations.
The eight-meter box truck is outfitted with 1.5 kW of rooftop solar energy and will primarily be used as a traveling learning center, utilizing a laptop and television display inside. A 3.6 meter projection screen, microphone, lighting and speakers are installed for outdoor presentations and activities.
The two vehicles were officially handed over during a ceremony in Vientiane on Wednesday by the German Ambassador H.E. Robert von Rimscha to Mr. Khampadith Khammounheuang, the Director General of the Department of Environmental Quality Promotion (DEQP).
Ambassador von Rimscha stated that “these two vehicles will attract large audiences as they offer both information and entertainment in rural areas where environmental education is so much needed.”
The efforts to scale up environmental education in Lao PDR are largely in response to a “Knowledge-Attitudes-Practices” survey undertaken by MoNRE and GIZ in 2012 that revealed a low level of knowledge about climate change, biodiversity and environmental issues among the more 2,000 respondents in Vientiane Capital, Khammouane, Huaphanh and Sayaboury Provinces.
The national economy of Lao PDR is heavily dependent on natural resources such as rain-fed rice cultivation and hydro-power generation and it is widely expected that the country will be greatly impacted by climate change, particularly rural communities that depend on forest ecosystems and smallholder agriculture.
More information about ProCEEd and climate-related environmental education and communication in Lao PDR can be found at www.laos-proceed.com.
About Sunlabob Renewable Energy
Sunlabob Renewable Energy, Ltd. is a Laos-based company specializing in renewable energy and clean water solutions throughout developing areas of the world. The company offers a range of on- and off-grid products and services, ranging from hybrid mini-grids and solar home systems, to energy efficiency consulting and water pumping and purification. Founded in 2000, Sunlabob is recognized globally for its innovative operational and financing models to enable clean energy and water access in remote areas of Southeast Asia, Africa, India and the Pacific region.