Accra, April 18, GNA - 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 May 30, 2012, a statement from the organisers to the GNA in Accra on Wednesday said.
It said social for-profit enterprise Barefoot Power was 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.
The statement said with good links to microfinance organisations, Barefoot had sold more than 300,000 lanterns and lighting kits to the rural poor in Kenya, Uganda and elsewhere.
Founder and 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.”
Last year's prize was won by Toyola Energy Limited, Ghana for an innovative business model which had succeeded in selling 154,000 efficient and affordable charcoal stoves to low-income families, 75 per cent of whom bought the stoves on credit and used savings on charcoal to pay cash back.
The stoves save about 26,000 tonnes of charcoal a year, and around 150,000 tonnes a year of CO2.
Toyola plans to open more centres in Benin, Sierra Leone and Nigeria in the next two years, stepping up sales to a further 140,000 stoves by 2013.
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 four million tonnes of CO2 every year.
Some 1.4 billion people around the world lack access to modern energy, while there billion rely on traditional biomass' and coal as their main fuel sources.