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East Africa-based solar power pioneer wins global green energy award

By Ashden Awards

30 May 2012 - London - A company specialising in providing affordable solar power products to remote rural communities has won a coveted Ashden Award for its work in Africa. Barefoot Power was awarded some 20,000 in prize money at a prestigious ceremony in London this evening after joining other Award winners at a meeting with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales at Clarence House in the morning.

The Ashden judges said: "With its astonishing 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 of how to access remote communities and how to make solar power affordable."

Rick Hooper, CEO of Barefoot Power said: "We are honored to receive the prestigious Ashden Award. More than 1.5 billion people lack access to energy across the globe and with this Award, we will be in a position to help eliminate energy poverty.

"As a social enterprise we have reached two million people in vulnerable communities in more than 20 countries with solar lighting and phone charging solutions. The Award will help us scale our business and make affordable, safe, healthy energy solutions available to all communities at the base of the pyramid, and help us attain our goal of reaching 10 million people by 2015."

The Award was presented by Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, Director General of UNIDO and Chair of UN-Energy, who in his keynote speech urged governments around the world to use the opportunity of Rio+20 to increase their support for clean energy pioneers like Barefoot Power.

Said Dr. Yumkella: "The decisions that will be taken at Rio will carry consequences for generations to come. Governments around the world must act urgently to agree the right policies and investment incentives that nurture these and other sustainable energy champions, before it's too late."

Barefoot Power's products are 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 homes, clinics and schools. With good links to microfinance organisations and exceptional customer care, Barefoot has sold more than 400,000 lanterns and lighting kits to two million rural poor in Africa, Asia Pacific, India and the Americas.