Off Grid Electric, a Tanzania-based social enterprise, has been awarded the Zayed Future Energy Prize in the Small and Medium Enterprise category during an awards ceremony today in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Now in its eighth edition, the UAE’s international prize recognises pioneers in the fields of renewable energy and sustainability.
Nine winners across five categories, including Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland who accepted the Lifetime Achievement award for her commitment to sustainability and sustainable development, received awards presented by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, heads of state and dignitaries from across the world attended the awards ceremony, taking place during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the largest gathering on sustainability in the Middle East.
Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, said: “We are delighted to welcome Off Grid Electric to our growing community of winners. Their efforts to give those individuals without, access to electricity is to be welcomed and aids the international community’s drive towards a future where safe and sustainable access to energy is available to all.”
The Zayed Future Energy Prize recognised Off Grid Electric for providing at least 45,000 homes in Tanzania with access to clean electricity at lower cost than harmful and environmentally damaging kerosene or diesel alternatives. Around 225,000 people benefit from Off Grid Electric’s solar home systems, which customers pay for through mobile payment.
Commenting on the achievement, Mr. Xavier Helgesen, CEO said: “We are thrilled and honored by the award of the Zayed Future Energy Prize. This award is an important step in our journey to make whole home solar accessible and affordable to all.”
Off Grid Electric offers ‘solar power as a service’ to off-grid customers in Tanzania. After installation of an Off Grid Electric solar home system, a household can save up to US$15.50 per month on lighting and mobile phone charging expenses and reduce household carbon emissions by 0.019 tonnes of CO2 and 0.2 kg of black carbon. In February 2015, the social enterprise together with the President of Tanzania announced the ‘Million Solar Homes’ initiative, which aims to provide a million Tanzanian homes with access to reliable solar electricity by the end of 2017.
Mr. Helgesen continued: “We will use the proceeds from this prize to reinvest in our industry-leading Off Grid Academy, which will create thousands of jobs in the years to come in Africa’s booming solar industry.”
Established by the UAE government in 2008, the US$4 million Zayed Future Energy Prize has recognised 48 pioneers from around the world and created a growing community, committed to finding solutions that will meet the challenges of climate change, energy security and the environment.
To date, more than 200 million people are experiencing the sustainable actions of the prize winners and this number continues to grow each year.