Asia, Emissions & Environment, Renewables, Solar, Strategic Development

Burmese refugees to benefit from solar project

Energy management and supply company Kinect Energy Group has announced funding for a renewable energy project designed to transform the lives of hundreds of Burmese refugees living on a landfill site in Thailand.

The refugee community centre known as the Green Island, based in Mae Sot, Thailand, is situated in the centre of a landfill site where approximately 500 refugee families are settled. The Green Island offers underprivileged communities access to education and sporting facilities however, unstable and inadequate access to electricity has forced the local community to rely on natural light, restricting access to the Island.

Partnering with PlayOnside, Kinect Energy Group has agreed to fund the installation of solar panels to provide around-the clock power to the Green Island project. The panels are set to be installed in the fourth quarter of 2019 and will provide refugees with access to a sustainable electricity supply that is 100 per cent renewable, meaning grid energy in the area will not be impacted.

Sustainable electricity to the Green Island will provide children with unlimited access to education opportunities within the community centre, freshly prepared food and a safe environment to socialize and make friends through the football tournaments organised by PlayOnside. 

Power will also be supplied to streetlights surrounding the Green Island, increasing safety and visibility at night. The solar panels will be installed by Htoot Htoot, who has been helping communities along the Thai/ Burmese border gain access to renewable energy and sustainable water filtration for seven years.  

In remote locations such as Mae Sot, the harsh terrain and lack of a road network makes solar power the most appropriate and effective method of providing energy. Kinect Energy has been supporting and funding renewable energy projects in remote, off-grid areas for several years, through its renewable energy sourcing platform Track my Electricity. The platform enables businesses to reduce their organisational footprint by sourcing 100% renewable energy, and supports vulnerable communities in combating energy poverty in developing countries.  

The Green Island was created by not-for-profit organization PlayOnside in February 2019, unite Mae Sot’s ethnically, culturally and socially diverse communities through participation in football festivals and integration tournaments. Children are given an opportunity to play and form friendships regardless of their background.

Anette Gussias, head of sustainability EMEA at Kinect Energy, commented: “As a global business, we are committed to playing our part in eliminating energy poverty and helping to improve the lives of those living in developing countries or fleeing areas of conflict, which is why we were keen to support PlayOnside and its Green Island project.

“Having access to electricity is something that we often take for granted, but for these communities it is life-changing and allows them to create brighter futures for their children and subsequent generations. Solar energy is the most effective and dependable method for off-grid areas such as in Mae Sot, enabling communities to benefit from a safer and a more modern way of living.”

Image courtesy of PlayOnside