London: An Indian organisation has been named Energy Champion 2008 at the Ashden Awards for its exemplary work in the area of local sustainable energy.
Bangalore-based Technology Informatics Design Endeavour (TIDE) was adjudged with Energy Champion at a glittering Ashden awards ceremony Tuesday for its role in transforming small businesses by encouraging them to use safer and cleaner energy-efficient woodstoves and kilns.
Another Indian organisation, Uttar Pradesh-based Aryavart Gramin Bank (AGB), was also awarded with 20,000 pounds for the prize, dubbed the “green energy Oscars”.
AGB was selected for pioneering a sustainable energy project in the state.
The prize was presented to N.K. Joshi, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of AGB, by Kenyan Nobel Prize laureate Wangari Maathai.
AGB is expanding access to electricity in rural villages by offering small loans to its off-grid customers to help them buy solar home systems (SHS).
The rural bank has a bulk supply and installation agreement with Tata-BP Solar.
The scheme is promoted through 289 branches by holding ‘credit camps’ where customers are invited to sign up. So far 8,000 systems have been installed and 10,000 customers have joined the scheme, benefiting over 40,000 people.
“In many parts of India, as in other countries, finance is the main obstacle for rural families who want to have a solar home system. Having a bank which actively promotes solar is therefore an enormous benefit,” Sarah Butler-Sloss, founder and chairperson of the Ashden Awards, said.
“We are very excited by the significant benefits which AGBs enthusiastic promotion of SHS has already brought to its customers, as well as the real potential for expansion, including the possibility of making solar photo-voltaic mainstream in rural areas through the network of Regional Rural Banks,” said Butler-Sloss.
The Prince of Wales, who is the patron of the Ashden Awards, personally congratulated this year’s Ashden Awards winners at a separate meeting.
The Ashden Awards, a charity organisation, find, reward and publicise the work of leading sustainable energy programmes working across the developing world and in the UK.
Five other international schemes were awarded 20,000 pounds each. The Bangladeshi solar programme Grameen Shakti won this years Outstanding Achievement Award.