Every gram of CO2 matters: REC solar panels bring clean energy to remote Himalayan communities to electrify medical centers in the Himalayan region
Marking the recent COP26 Global Climate Change Conference, REC Group, an international pioneering solar energy company headquartered in Norway, reports on its own programs to provide clean energy to communities that previously had no alternative to fossil-fuel power sources. In its second project in cooperation with Global Himalaya Expedition (GHE), an award-winning NGO, REC donated solar panels to provide remote communities in the Himalayan region with access to solar energy. REC Alpha and REC TwinPeak solar panels with only 14 kWp now generate power for two rural medical centers serving almost 100 villages in the remote Hindu Kush Himalayan Region.
No place is too remote for the effects of climate change
Glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region, which span over 2,000 miles (3,200 km) of Asia at an average elevation of over 20,000ft (6,000 m), provide water resources to around a quarter of the world’s population. The Himalayas could lose two-thirds of their glaciers by 2100 due to rising temperatures.1 Remote communities which call these regions home are more prone to the effects of climate change.
Benefits of access to clean solar energy
It is, therefore, all the more important for these communities to have functioning medical centers. The electrification and healthcare upgrade with REC solar panels brings important benefits. Apart from having 24/7 access to energy, medical centers can now provide better critical healthcare, without transporting patients to other centers. Patient turnout is better due to higher confidence amongst villagers for healthcare. There is also a reduction in infant mortality. Video documentation, explaining in detail the difference these few solar panels are making for the remote communities, is available on Youtube.com/RECGroupMedia.
Commenting on this project, Agnieszka Schulze, Chairperson of the CSR Steering Committee at REC Group, says: “At REC, we believe that as the solar industry grows in importance, so does our responsibility to be good corporate citizens, as well as more sustainable. That also applies to activities outside our company, which is why we support projects in local communities that deliver positive outcomes at a local level.”
COP26: urgent action needed by all
COP26 made clear just how urgent it is to take action on both global and local levels. Atmospheric CO2 continues to rise fast. Even with the best-case scenario – with full implementation of all announced targets including net zero pledges – current data indicates that it will be extremely challenging to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. Every gram of CO2 matters – which is why REC is committed to bringing clean solar power to communities that would otherwise rely on polluting energy sources. Sustainability is key to REC’s Code of Conduct, and the entire management is committed to upholding these principles in all REC’s business activities.
In line with this commitment, REC is continuously increasing efficiencies of its solar panels up while driving Energy, Water and Waste Savings programs, investing in innovative silicon kerf recycling processes and using also solar power on its rooftop to reduce its own environmental footprint. Beyond this, REC is regularly supporting communities in need, such as in Himalaya, Puerto Rico or in Australia following the bushfires, demonstrating REC’s holistic understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility according to ISO 26000.