Aussie Social Enterprise Honoured
5 June 2012 at 10:09 am
A social enterprise based in Sydney that provides remote African communities with affordable solar power products has been honoured with an Ashden Award by the Prince of Wales.
Aussie Social Enterprise "Barefoot Power" is replacing kerosene with solar power in Africa.
“Barefoot Power” chief executive Rick Hooper said that more than 1.5 billion people lack access to energy across the globe.
“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," he said.
The company believes that energy access is one of the key building blocks of economic development and the first step to alleviate energy poverty.
It says their mission is to help low income families break their dependence on inefficient, expensive and harmful light sources by giving them cleaner and cheaper options.
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.”
The Ashden Awards were founded in 2001 in the UK to encourage the greater use of local sustainable energy to address climate change and alleviate poverty. So far over 140 green energy organisations have improved the lives of 33 million people worldwide and saved over four million tonnes of CO2 each year, according to the event organisers. Award winners take home £20,000 (AU$ 31,850) in prize money.
The United Nations has designated 2012 as the International Year for Sustainable Energy for All.