Light Up for Life

Cambodia does not own a national electric grid and imports electricity from Thailand and Vietnam. Even so, only 20%t of the population have access to mains electricity. In remote rural areas people make do with diesel generators, car batteries, kerosene lamps and candles. The average price of electricity in Cambodia is US$0.16 per kilowatt/hour and as high as US$0.90 per kilowatt-hour in remote rural areas. Electricity prices in Cambodia are the highest in the Asean region.

In Cambodia, solar energy is the best option because of year round availability of high solar radiation. Also, LED – the next revolution in energy-efficient lighting – is helping people in the dark leapfrog into a new era of home lighting. This new LED revolution has helped the global poor by reducing their dependency on dirty kerosene, which consumed much of their meagre income and was injurious to their health.

By installing low cost solar power kit, Cambodian can use the LED-based lighting system to extend their work hours at night or early in the morning. The system was used specifically for their children's studying needs as well as necessary kitchen lighting for cooking. The occasional person can even use the system to charge mobile phones and flashlights. The villagers can dream of a day when they will be able to power fans, televisions, water pumps and even the Internet.

The government plans to triple Cambodia's energy output from around 808 megawatts in 2009 to nearly 4,000 megawatts by 2020 (equal to estimated consumption) and supply 70 per cent of the population with electricity. However the rural poor is not optimistic about the prospect of being part of this as economically it will be beyond their pockets.

With the solar power kit, the maintenance is so low cost (replacement of LED bulbs) that can last almost up to 5 years with the first 2 years under warranty by the supplier.

Learning Journeys (Cambodia) Foundation is partnering Yejj Solar Technologies, a sustainable non-profit organisation ( in bringing affordable solar energy solutions to the people of Cambodia.

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