Solar Panels Providing Energy and Opportunity for Stateless Thai Kids
As you can likely tell from our frequent updates of our solar panel project in Thailand, we are very excited about its completion. We are most excited about the positive impact this has already been having(and will continue to have) on the stateless children we work with in Thailand.
The system has very recently been completely installed and turned on, providing the Children’s Home with solar-powered energy during the day, allowing them to go “off the grid” and lower their utilities costs. Lower utilities costs translate to more money being spent on the children. The children have also received trainings on solar panels, and the older children will be able to assist with the upkeep of the panels.
As for the installation, the entire process took about 5 weeks, with heavy rains causing delays along the way. The 280 solar panels arrived at the Children’s Home the last week of July, and installation of them was able to begin three weeks after that, as
they could not safely be installed on the roof during heavy rains. There was also some back and forth with the technicians, as they had brought a converter had too high of an energy usage threshold. Yet everything was straightened out and the solar panels have just been turned on to provide affordable energy to the children. Juniper Networks also met with our staff to plan out how to go about installing internet in the house. This is possible because of the solar energy which will allow a computer lab to be set up in the Home in the coming months.
This project could not have been complete without the partnership of Panels for Progress, an organization that partners with NGOs like us to provide affordable and dependable energy to those that need it most. They helped organize and coordinate all the moving pieces of this project, such as getting the solar panels donated and installed. Panels for Progress worked with First Solar, the leading provider of solar energy solutions globally, to get the panels donated and with VP Solar, a Thai-based company, to install the panels.
Other than lowering costs, how is this helping the children we work with? First of all, Thailand’s solar panel industry is booming. According to a recent article by Renewable Energy World, “the Asian country ranks among a handful of emerging solar markets that are gaining major momentum in the solar industry.” The article pointed to the fact that Thailand has increased its solar energy target by 50 percent, and has been actively encouraging solar
energy development since 2006. Looking specifically at our project, the technicians who installed the panels came from the poorest regions in Thailand, and are now traveling all over Thailand selling and installing solar panels while earning a living wage. This is why it is so important for the children we work with to learn about the solar panels and be exposed to the technology, for their knowledge about solar panels could help them later in life.
We are very thankful for our partnerships with Panels for Progress and Juniper, for they are helping us realize a new, innovative piece to our vision to provide stateless Thai children with brighter futures. To hear more updates on our Thailand project, please consider attending the Not For Sale Gala, where Kru Nam, our Thailand director, will be speaking.