The Ashden Awards is a UK-based charity that works to increase the use of local sustainable energy worldwide. They find, reward and publicise the work of leading sustainable energy programmes working across the developing world and in the UK. They just announced the finalists for the 2008 Global Green Awards. Among an impressive list of global finalists are two Indian organizations – Aryavart Gramin bank and Technology Informatics Design Endeavour (TIDE):
Aryavart Gramin bank
The Aryavart Gramin bank in Uttar Pradesh used solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to back-up the unreliable grid power for some of its branches, and recognised the potential of PV for its many off-grid customers. The bank set up a bulk supply and installation agreement with TATA-BP for
PV solar-home-systems, and provides loans for its customers with a good credit record to purchase the systems. To date 10,100 loans have been approved and 8,000 solar-home-systems installed. Local entrepreneurs are paid by the bank to service and maintain systems. The Aryavart Gramin bank has a target of 25,000 solar-home-systems this year, and is promoting the idea of its SHS loan scheme to other rural banks.
Sustainable energy pioneer Ms Svati Bhogle has revolutionised life for thousands and improved the environment with her organisation, TIDE, which has developed and adapted energy-efficient
woodstoves and kilns for specific industries, including arecanut processing, silk reeling, textile dyeing, ayurvedic medicine production and food preparation. Over 10,500 stoves have been sold by TIDE and the entrepreneurs it has trained: these stoves save about 43,000 tonnes/year biomass, provide a cleaner, cooler environment for users, and often lead to significant time savings. TIDE is developing a range of stoves for large-scale cooking, and working with larger production centres in order to bring the stoves to more customers.
The international winner (Energy Champion) will be announced on Thursday 19 June at an Awards ceremony in London. All international finalists will attend to compete for the overall prize of £40,000, to help project expansion and promote replication.