Tomorrow evening SolarAid will be awarded with the EUROSOLAR European Solar Prize 2013 at an awards ceremony at the Berlin Branch of KfW Bankengruppe in Germany.
EUROSOLAR and SolarAid have a shared vision for a world that doesn’t depend on fossil fuels and where everyone has access to clean, safe renewable energy.
The European Solar Prize awards organisations taking innovative and pioneering action in promoting widespread use of solar energy.
SolarAid have been awarded this prestigious prize, now in its twentieth year, for their work combatting both climate change and poverty with solar lights in Africa.
In Africa 600 million people do not have access to electricity[i] and many rely on dirty kerosene for light. Kerosene is extremely dangerous and contributes to the indoor air pollution that causes a million deaths worldwide every year[ii]. Burning kerosene emits black carbon, the second biggest contributor to global climate change[iii]. It is also extremely expensive for rural African families, who can spend around 25% of their income on kerosene every week[iv].
For about $10 SolarAid provides families the opportunity to buy a clean, safe solar alternative. Not only is the light brighter, safer and better for the environment – it gives free light and provides more time for studying, working and socialising. SolarAid distribute these solar lights in East Africa through their social enterprise SunnyMoney. By selling rather than giving, it is building a sustainable market for solar products in Africa that is growing at an exponential rate.
The people that need solar lights most live in the remotest rural corners of the continent, far from the electricity grid. Getting solar lights to places that have little infrastructure is a huge challenge and the charity raises money to cover the expensive cost of this distribution. It also works to lobby governments to have fair tax policies for importing solar, so that the economy can flourish.
Jeremy Leggett, Founder and chairman of SolarAid and Solarcentury, said:
“Receiving this award is a hugely gratifying recognition both of what SolarAid has achieved, and the potential prize we see ahead of us. Our goal is to rid Africa of the kerosene lantern by 2020 and with our cumulative solar light sales surpassing 750,000 in October, with over 72% sold in the last 12 months, we are on track. It’s an exciting time. We have the potential to create a vibrant microcosm of how relatively easily clean energy can replace fossil fuels if people pull together.
SolarAid was founded by Solarcentury in 2006 and Solarcentury continues to support the charity with 5% of its profits each year. It would be wonderful if the wider solar sector could get behind SolarAid too. There would be few legacies as compelling as helping us to reach our first major milestone – a million lights by March 2014 – and then replicating the success across the continent.”
To support SolarAid in its mission contact SolarAid’s Corporate Partnerships Manager – Tessa Kipping firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now is the best time to get involved as the charity launch a winter campaign supported by the UK government – all donations received between 1st December and 1st March will be doubled by the UK Department for International Development.
1. Lighting Africa (2013) Lighting Africa Brochure
ii. World Health Organisation (2011). Indoor air pollution and health.
iii. Jacobson, Lam, Bond and Hultman 2013: Black Carbon and Kerosene Lighting: An Opportunity for Rapid Action on Climate
iv. Lighting Africa (2013). Lighting Africa brochure.