1000-Village Solar LED Initiative launches in Southwest China

Sept. 2, 2009
A project that aims to introduce solar-powered Led lighting in 1000 villages across China, India and Africa was launched recently by Tony Blair and Jet Li.
Former UK prime minister Tony Blair and Chinese film star Jet Li have launched the 1000-Village Solar LED Initiative in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou Province.

Baigongcun, a Miao group inhabited village to Huaxi District of Guiyang city, has become a pilot site of the demonstration project.

The 5-year project, which is a joint initiative between The Climate Group and the Jet Li One Foundation, will engage 400 villages in China in the first two years, and 600 villages in China, India and African countries on the second stage.

Talking about the idea of installing LED lights in villages, Wang Chengbo, Director of City Programs for The Climate Group in China, said: “Due to the current constraints of getting villages connected to grid, alternative technologies, such as solar LED, have become a preferred choice for many villages in China. Such alternatives have succeeded in improving the living quality for local residents and also avoiding greenhouse gas emissions.”

At the start, the major funding is from the Jet Li One Foundation. However, as the project goes on, it aims to develop a financing mechanism, supported by government’s policy incentives, to drive rural lighting towards a low carbon future, according to Wang.

“The LED project will involve key stakeholders such as local governments, technology providers related to LED industry and authoritative research institutes that work on LED performance standards.” Wang said.

View the launch video:

This is the first joint project of the two organizations since Tony Blair and Jet Li signed a strategic partnership in March this year for The Climate Group and the Jet Li One Foundation.

Jet Li, the founder of the Jet Li One Foundation, said: “Environment protection has always been a priority for One Foundation. I’m very excited to see that the LED project has finally landed in villages in China. We will continue to work with The Climate Group to look for low carbon lighting solutions in countryside.”

Changhua Wu, Greater China Director of The Climate Group, said, “This demonstration project will help us identify technical obstacles of LED solar lighting, and then solutions to it. The villages in our list should meet certain criteria, such as, imperative demand for road lighting, applicable natural condition including rich solar energy to guarantee normal operation of the lighting facility.”

Tony Blair said: “We have the green technology solutions to help tackle the threat of climate change. And these technologies bring economic and social opportunities too.

“What projects will do is demonstrate the effectiveness of these green solutions so that we can generate the scale of change needed. There is a credible, practical, realistic as well as radical way to act. We can set the world on a new path to a low carbon future. But we need to start making these decisions now which is why I am delighted to be supporting this initiative with Jet Li today.”