Back in 2013, Panasonic announced its intention to donate 100,000 solar-powered lanterns to some of the then 1.32 billion people around the world living without access to electricity. Three years on, the firm says it is over halfway to that target.
Panasonic is aiming to meet its 100,000 target by 2018, the 100th anniversary of the company being founded. It says it had hit the 50,000 mark by March 10 and will have reached over 60,000 by the end of the month.
The lanterns were developed by Panasonic itself and provide three brightness settings, with up to 90 hours of operation time. They also sport a USB port via which it's possible to charge devices like mobile phones. As part of the scheme, solar LED lights are also being donated.
The lanterns and lights are intended to be distributed through non-profit, non-governmental, humanitarian and international organizations. According to Panasonic, 80 organizations in 16 countries have received donations so far, with organizations reporting back that the lanterns and lights have been helping end-users to study, deliver medical care and generate income. People living in rural, off-grid areas are said to have benefited in particular.
The video below provides an insight into the 100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project.