A company specialising in providing affordable solar power products for Africa’s poor has been selected alongside seven other organisations from India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Peru and Afghanistan as a finalist for the 2012 Ashden Awards, the world’s leading green energy prize. The finalists will compete for over £120,000 prize money, with the winners to be announced at a prestigious ceremony in London on 30 May 2012.
Social for-profit enterprise Barefoot Power is rolling out a wide range of solar power products at speed across Africa, brightening up the lives of those with limited or no access to grid power. Products range from single desk lamps to complete kits for use by community homes, clinics and schools. With good links to microfinance organisations, Barefoot has sold more than 300,000 lanterns and lighting kits to the rural poor in Kenya, Uganda and elsewhere.
Founder Director of Ashden Sarah Butler-Sloss said: “In this International Year of Sustainable Energy For All, Barefoot offers a powerful example of the huge potential for businesses to bring sustainable energy to the poor. For children doing their homework and parents carrying out household chores, the benefits of being able to extend their day in a way that also avoids the polluting and dangerous effects of kerosene are immeasurable.”
The Ashden Awards were founded in 2001 to encourage the greater use of sustainable energy to address climate change and alleviate poverty. Since then award winners have improved the lives of 33 million people worldwide, saving over 4 million tonnes of CO2 every year.
Some 1.4 billion people around the world lack access to modern energy, while 3 billion rely on ‘traditional biomass’ and coal as their main fuel sources.