Well, once again I was the happy recipient today--via email from Dr. Ben Essel-Hagan, Director of Ghana's Institute of Industrial Research--of the good news about the uptake of solar photovoltaic technology in Africa: Two African solar energy companies won Ashden Award prizes last week. Tanzania's Zara Solar Ltd. won the first prize for the Africa Award (£30,000) for providing high-quality, reliable solar-home-systems at affordable prices to communities lacking access to a reliable source of energy. The second prize for the Africa Award (£10,000) was snatched by Deng Ltd of Ghana for "developing a viable and sustainable business for the provision of solar-home-systems to rural areas where access to grid supply is limited." The African companies shared the limelight with nine other international winners at an awards ceremony on June 22 at the Royal Geographical Society in London.
Addressing the participants, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore said he was most impressed by the fact that the award winning projects "...are becoming the change that's needed in the world. These awards tell us how to illuminate the path to a sustainable future together." The Patron of the Ashden Awards, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales congratulated all the winners in a separate private ceremony. He is also reported to have been "highly impressed by the diverse range of outstanding sustainable energy solutions from the UK and across the globe. His Royal Highness was particularly encouraged by the fact that these pioneering initiatives offer practical, simple and economical solutions that others can easily follow."
The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy were created in 2001 by the Ashden Trust. The 2006 Awards are funded by nine Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts along with the John Ellerman Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Charitable Trust and Climate Care.