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Why Solar and Ex-Prisoners?

Prison sentences often extend beyond the time prisoners spend incarcerated. The social stigma that accompanies any prison sentence in Thailand means that ex-convicts experience social alienation and discrimination upon reentry into society. Challenges in finding stable and high-quality employment opportunities further compound the difficulties ex-convicts already face in reintegration, leading to recidivism in many cases. With Thailand’s prison population ranking amongst the largest in the world, there is a clear need for new approaches to rehabilitation and reintegration.

The green energy transition brings with it new opportunities not only through enabling climate-friendly development pathways, but also through supporting the creation of sustainable and high-quality jobs. As solar power becomes increasingly adopted across Thailand, social business can be used to bring the benefits of this transition to marginalized populations, in particular ex-prisoners, and support them in having real second chances.

The Social Solar Project

Working with Global Power Synergy Public Company Limited (GPSC), Rayong Technical College, and Rayong Central Prison, Yunus Thailand is working to develop a Social Solar Business model that provides solar panel installation, operation & maintenance, and capacity building services, aimed at creating quality job opportunities and essential skills for ex-convicts.

The first step in this process is the development of a Solar PV Installation Training Curriculum for inmates (and ex-prisoners) as well as a Training of Trainers Manual for scaling the program in partnership with Rayong Technical College. Beyond technical topics, soft skills development and fundamentals supporting career progression are core pillars of the developed curriculum. Concurrently, Yunus Thailand is working to deliver the pilot technician trainings to prisoners at Rayong Central Prison, collaboratively designing the social solar business model with GPSC, and identifying potential customers for the social solar business.

Envisioned Impact

Through developing a model that integrates the needs of Thai prisoners as well as the opportunities of the renewable energy sector in Thailand, innovative approaches to rehabilitation and reintegration can be delivered at scale. Rayong Central Prison serves as a model prison in Thailand, and can support through demonstration and serving as a knowledge base the replication and expansion of the developed model.

“Solar is the energy that never runs out. If we can turn it into income, will jobs be more generated?”

Contact person: Pathit Ongvasith (email:, Wiwat Maneematcha (email: