Politics and policy
Solar power firm clinches Ashden clean energy award
Posted Thursday, May 31 2012 at 20:27
Barefoot Power, a firm that specialises in providing solar power solutions to the mass market across Africa, has been named this year’s winner of the Ashden Awards, bagging Sh2.7 million (£20,000) in prize money.
The award was founded in 2001 to encourage the use of clean energy alternatives to address the challenges of climate change and alleviate poverty.
The Australia-based company manufactures and distributes micro-solar products including lighting and phone charging products across the continent to regions that do not have access to electricity.
It has sold about 350,000 lanterns and lighting kits.
“With its sales figures, Barefoot is a fantastic example of a market-led solution to bringing renewable electricity to Africa’s rural poor.
"Through its network of micro-entrepreneurs it is overcoming the barriers to accessing remote communities and how to make solar power affordable,” the panel of judges said in their citation to the winning entry.
The Award was presented by Dr Kandeh Yumkella, the director general of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) and the Chair of UN-Energy.
In his keynote speech, Dr Yumkella urged governments around the world to use the opportunity of Rio+20 conference to increase their support for clean energy pioneer.
Barefoot’s solar devices are marketed locally through Smart Solar, its Kenyan subsidiary.