Two Solar Initiatives 2013 International Ashden Award Winners

Azuri Technologies and SolarAid  were recently named among the winners of the 2013 International Ashden Awards.
Azuri Technologies was the recipient of the  Zennstrom Philanthropies Ashden Award for Innovation.
Azuri Technologies
is the developer of a pay-as-you-go system that combines mobile phone and solar technology to allow customers to pay for their energy and equipment with scratchcards over a period of time.  Azuri’s ‘Indigo Duo’ starter solar home systems consist of two lights and equipment for cell phone charging. Once users have paid for that system, they can then upgrade to larger systems.
“Our Ashden Award is for all those who have helped Indigo grow from small beginnings,” said Simon Bransfield Garth, CEO of Azuri. “That includes many dedicated individuals at Azuri Technologies, and our partners, who are now working to bring pay-as-you-go solar power to rural villages across sub-Saharan Africa. Together we have demonstrated the transformational impact that an innovative technology and business model can achieve.”
SolarAid was the winner of the International Gold Award.
Under SolarAid’s SunnyMoney initiative, solar lights are bought by local entrepreneurs at a very low price and resold to residents of the entrepreneurs’ local communities. Donors can also sponsor lights for families. More than 400,000 lamps have been sold since 2010, making SolarAid the largest distributor of solar lights in Africa. The organisation has an ambitious goal of eliminating kerosene lamps from Africa by 2020.
“We believe the 598 million off-grid African people have a right to choose clean, safe light for their families and are calling on everyone to help us give them that choice,” says Pippa Palmer, SolarAid MD.
Earlier this month, SolarAid was also the winner of a £500,000 Google Global Impact Award.
Ashden’s mission is to encourage increased use of local sustainable energy to address climate change, alleviate poverty and improve quality of life. The Ashden Awards raise awareness of the vital role local sustainable energy has to play in tackling both climate change and bringing social benefits.