Clean Power

Published on January 1st, 2014 | by Derek Markham


Donate A Solar Lantern Customized By You

January 1st, 2014 by  

Originally published on Ecopreneurist.

Design a Shade for Panasonic's 100K Solar Lanterns Project

As part of Panasonic’s ongoing 100 Thousand Solar Lanterns project, which aims to distribute solar-powered LED lanterns to off-grid communities, the company has launched a design contest that seeks to bring more awareness to the challenges and issues faced by many people around the world.

For those of us in the hyper-connected and über-electrified developed world, it’s hard to imagine life without access to light or power, but there are over one billion people on the planet that still don’t have electricity, and must use kerosene lanterns to illuminate their homes. These kerosene lights are not only expensive to run, but they also pose fire and health risks to those who use them everyday, so having a solar-powered LED lantern could make a huge difference in people’s lives.

With Panasonic’s “Cut Out the Darkness” project, users can design and submit a unique artistic version of a shade for these solar lanterns, and could see their creation produced and distributed to those in need.

“The “Cut Out the Darkness” project website offers its own unique application that enables users to design a cutout and see a virtual shade image on-screen while working on the design. When finishing the design, the design can be submitted online, and displayed in the “Design Archives.” Based on a popularity poll by site visitors, the best 100 shade designs are chosen and fabricated by laser cutter into lantern shades true to the original cutout designs. Moreover, original designs contributed by eleven globally acclaimed paper-cut artists, who are supporting the project, are also showcased on the site and made into lantern shades. Solar lanterns and shades, including those made from selected designs by a popularity poll and from designs contributed by paper-cut artists, are delivered to homes and schools in non-electrified regions.” – Panasonic

To design and submit your own version of a solar lantern shade, go to the Cut Out the Darkness project site.

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About the Author

lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, slacklining, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves good food, with fresh roasted chiles at the top of his list of favorites. Catch up with Derek on Twitter, Google+, or at his natural parenting site, Natural Papa!

  • Cut Out the Darkness campaign

    I’m one of the staff members of Cut Out the Darkness campaign.

    Thank you for your insightful comment. I appreciate it.
    Yes, the shades are removable depending on their needs…

    We visited off-grid areas several times and have seen their severe
    living conditions. That is why we are committed to provide 100,000 solar lanterns and we want more people know about the issues.

    This campaign aims to get the public involved
    in the neglected issues of the non-electrified areas and we hope the designed shades take a role of linking participants and recipients.
    (you can see our past challenges here:

  • lkjadsfs

    It’s a laudable concept to supply led/solar/batter lights to the developing world. However. The lantern SHADE designs shown above and on the ‘cut out darkness’ site are decorative, but manage to defeat the concept. The shade designs are cutting 1/3 to 2/3 of the light output of the luminare. If these ever get to their destination, the shades will be removed & used for something irrelevant, or even tossed into the landfill. This is an example of wrapping the golden egg in a poisonous wrapper.

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