Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
A winner for “Solar for all” Design Contest
The six month suspense ended yesterday. The small company Greenlight planet won the “Solar for All” Design Contest. The prize was awarded during the Eurosolar conference, in San Francisco. This new contest aims at finding the best technical innovations to make solar photovoltaic technology affordable and accessible for the developing world.
Greenlight planet is a company created last year by one Indian and two American college students from Urbana Champaign, Illinois University. Their idea? To replace the kerosene lamps used in developing countries with solar-powered lamps. Their light-emitting diodes system work for 16 hours after being charged in the sun for a day.
“It is crucial to find a sustainable way to provide electricity to the 1.6 billion people across the planet who don’t have access to it yet”, says Hélène Pelosse, Interim Director-General of IRENA. The International Renewable Energy Agency’s experts participated in the selection of the best candidates for this award.
Hélène Pelosse adds: “The cost of solar panels has been almost divided by two in the past few years and this is only the beginning. But this price decrease needs to happen even faster to reach the low income communities and drastically improve their way of life”.
The first prize of the Solar for All Design Contest is an investment of $250,000 from the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation. The four shortlisted finalists will be eligible for potential investment from the Solar for All Investment Fund to be launched in 2011.
The “Solar for All” initiative was founded by Canopus Foundation and Ashoka, and is by now supported by a consortium of more than 50 of the world's leading organizations working in the field of energy access for the poor. Along with IRENA, major supporters include the Artemisia Foundation, Avina Stiftung, the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, the Elea Foundation, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, the Lemelson Foundation, and the Woodcock Foundation.