[Sponsored Report] GS Caltex lights up the rural Cambodia
Despite ample sunlight of 5.3 hours per day, Cambodia lacks the infrastructure and technology needed to generate solar power. The central electricity distribution rate is only 20 percent, which leaves 80 percent of the population, or 2.3 million households, in off-grid rural areas. Around 92 percent of the rural population relies on expensive oil lamps and batteries, which are not only harmful to health and the environment, but often cause fires.
To alleviate the energy shortage in Cambodia, GS Caltex has been leading the solar energy project in collaboration with Good Neighbors and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). Research teams from GS Caltex took part in developing solar lanterns, solar power generators and a solar home system, and established the Solar Energy Center in Battambang.
In developing solar products, appropriate technology and models suitable for Cambodia’s environment were used. The solar home system operates by placing sunlight panels on the rooftops of local houses. The panels collect the sunlight and manufacture and store electricity in the batteries, which enables local residents to access electricity inside their homes.
On Aug. 2, an opening ceremony for the Solar Energy Center was held in Battambang. Around 220 people were present, including provincial government officials, executives and employees of GS Caltex, KOICA and local residents. The center will serve as the main base for producing and selling solar energy products in the area.
GS Caltex said R&D for second generation products will take place at the center. Furthermore, the center will establish solar battery charging facilities and provide services at a reasonable price to reach more low-income households.
While continuing to provide education about solar power and product distribution, GS Caltex aims to fully engage the local residents in the large-scale project. In the long run, the center will create jobs and cultivate local experts in the field of solar energy. GS Caltex said it plans to invite local experts to Korea and give them in-depth training.
The solar energy project is making tangible changes in people’s lives. Locals can now continue housework and students can study or read books until later at night. Accidents related to oil lamps are prevented and adverse effects on health and environment are minimized.
The slogan “Sharing light, Sharing life” implies that the solar energy project goes a lot further than just distributing solar lamps like most other projects. The project is significant because it is helping the local community to achieve self-reliance. GS Caltex hired local workers, enabled technology transfer and let revenue flow back to the community. GS Caltex has been pursuing sustainable growth, creating a virtuous cycle of light creating life, and vice versa.