Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Makers of eco-lamp hope profits will light up

Makers of eco-lamp hope profits will light up

Makers of eco-lamp hope profits will light up

091007_08
Kamworks Director Jeroen Verschelling fits a light Sunday in Sre Ambel village, Kandal province.

Kandal Province
CAMBODIA’s first solar energy company plans to capitalise on the countryside’s poor infrastructure development when it launches its MoonLight solar lantern next week.

Produced by Dutch-backed firm Kamworks, the light is being pitched as a safer and cheaper alternative to the widely used kerosene lamp, which is costly to refill and poses a serious fire risk in homes made of wood and straw.

“With roughly 2 million unelectrified households, Cambodia has a home market that is large enough to allow for a modest ... solar industry in the medium term,” Kamworks director Jeroen Verschelling said.

The company, which was launched in 2006, has been producing the solar-powered lamps in Sre Ambel village, in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district, since September.

Verschelling said the device was the first solar-powered product assembled in Cambodia. Homegrown production not only provides Cambodians with jobs that would otherwise remain overseas but also creates a supply of spare parts so villagers can perform their own repairs, creating a sense of ownership and a belief in the technology. In contrast, Verschelling says, “imported products are often of poor quality or poorly installed, thus damaging the reputation of solar energy”.

The MoonLight costs US$20 and pays for itself in less than a year, given that the average kerosene lamps costs 200 riels every day to operate. The lantern is small, lightweight and portable, with a strap.

Leng Sopheap, a 52-year-old Sre Ambel resident, used the MoonLight for two weeks during the product’s test release. He says he was satisfied with the product because it was easy to use, safe and bright, and there was no smoke from burning fuel. But he said the product was a bit expensive.

“It is better to use than the kerosene lamp. I want to use it so much, but I need the cost to come down a little bit,” he said.

Though many Cambodians may still be priced out of the market for the MoonLight, initial orders for the solar lantern appear steady.

Kamworks Managing Director Arjen Luxwolda said the company produces 200 MoonLights a month. “But we can make more,” he said. “We can make 1,000 per month, depending on the customers.”

Microfinance lender Angkor Microfinance Kampuchea bought 100 last month to on-sell in rural areas, he added.

Kamworks’ solar lantern has already won two design awards this year: the Feel the Planet Earth CIFIAL Design Award and the Toon van Tuijl Design Prize.

The MoonLight will be officially launched Tuesday in Phnom Penh.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia’s image problem

    In opening remarks at a recent event, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luy David said information can be a double-edged sword. He told a European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS) briefing seminar that the media has unfairly presented

  • PM Hun Sen says dangers averted

    Delivering a campaign speech from his home via Facebook Live on Thursday, caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen said his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had carried the country through danger in its latest mandate. He was specifically referring to the threat of a “colour revolution”

  • Kingdom's trade deal with EU questioned before poll

    A European Union (EU) mission met with senior government officials at the Ministry of Interior on Tuesday as the 28-member bloc monitors an agreement under which Cambodian goods reach the crucial European market tariff-free. Some 10 commissioners are in the Kingdom as part of a seven-day

  • A new carrier takes off in capital

    Cambodia Airways, the latest passenger airline to enter the Kingdom, launched its first domestic flight on Tuesday. Flight KR801, carrying 145 passengers, left the Phnom Penh International Airport at 9:50am and landed in Siem Reap at 10:35am in an Airbus A319. Cambodia Airways marketing and branding