EternalLanternsPrese ntation

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Eternal Lanterns Project -- portable solar-LED lighting solutions for rural China --: 

Eternal Lanterns Project -- portable solar-LED lighting solutions for rural China -- Ilan Gur, Ph.D. Candidate Becca Jones, Ph.D. Candidate Jianping Du, MBA Candidate Zach Gentry, MBA Candidate Advisors: Dean Richard Newton, School of Engineering Evan Mills, Staff Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory


Abstract The purpose of this research effort is to provide a qualitative assessment of the utility and viability of a portable, solar powered LED lantern in addressing household lighting needs in rural China. We utilized qualitative interviews and surveys, and collected data from a variety of sources including research papers and government publications in China. As a result, we produced specific recommendations for companies, entrepreneurs, and researchers in this industry. More generally, we also provided insight to a broader audience who are interested in the promotion of sustainable lighting for rural development in China.

Primary Research Question: 

Primary Research Question Is a portable, solar-powered lighting solution appropriate and competitive for addressing household lighting needs in rural China, as assessed in the context of: basic sociological user needs alternative solutions market forces the central government’s goals and initiatives in rural development and the promotion of renewable energy sources? Research results presented in a solar-LED symposium in Beijing, China at trip’s conclusion

Trip Itinerary – Summer 2004: 

Trip Itinerary – Summer 2004 Itinerary: August 1-8: Beijing China-U.S. Renewable Energy Workshop (sponsored by NREL) Meetings with industry, NGO and government representatives August 9-21: Tibet Meetings with NGO and industry reps; visit to Tibet Solar Research Center Field research: visits and interviews at 6 villages in the Lhasa area of Tibet August 22-25: Beijing Seminar with experts in PV and LED industries

Pre-Existing System of Use: 

Pre-Existing System of Use Main Source of Light Solar Lighting (CFL bulbs) Candles Diesel Lanterns Flashlights The Good: Electricity Only 25-30 million in China without electricity (less than 500,000 in Tibet) Solar home systems common in remote areas The Bad: Diesel Lamps Extremely dirty and poor light quality

Solaris Lantern: Lessons Learned: 

Solaris Lantern: Lessons Learned Portability seems highly valued aspect of lighting system Some villagers expressed preference for portable lantern over solar home systems BUT… portable solar system NOT prevalent in Lhasa street market

Portable LED Flashlight: Lessons Learned: 

Portable LED Flashlight: Lessons Learned LED light valued as FLASHLIGHT lighting source LED bulbs are a possible solution to flashlight needs, especially combined with solar / rechargability Battery disposal a significant environmental issue…  70 batteries/household/yr x ~7,000,000 households = ~ 500,000,000 batteries/year!

Other Important Observations: 

Other Important Observations Disconnect between issued system specs and specific end-user needs Inability for remote villagers to take advantage of warrantees Need for additional education/ maintenance (need localized system repair and maintenance) Government subsidy programs need power delivery and “customer” satisfaction incentives

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