Friday, April 13, 2007

Energy Globe 2006 - The Winners From India

The Energy Globe awards for 2006 are out, and programs in India have won two awards. The International Awards are given in 5 categories (Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Youth) , plus a National Honorary Award.

First Prize in the Fire category

In a previous post, we had mentioned Selco India, a company which sells solar electrification systems to rural Indian households through consumer credit programs. Though the company and its business model is today quite strong, it probably would not have been but for the early level support received from the Indian Solar Loan Program led by the United Nations Environment Program in partnership with the UNEP Riscoe Center, and Indian banking groups including Canara Bank, Syndicate Bank, and their sponsored smaller cooperative banks.

In a just recognition of its great success, this 4-year $7.6 mn program launched in April 2003, receives the First Prize in the Fire category. UNEP has decided not renew the program in India recognizing that the business model is now strong enough to carry on without its support.

"A customer credit financing program for financing solar home systems... the program design involves an interest rate reduction, a direct support system of the market and a provider qualification process. Over the span of three years more than 16,000 Solar Home Systems have been financed through 2,000 bank branches and the interest subsidy has been mostly phased out."

Second Prize in Water Category

The second Energy Globe recipient from India represents a very famous brand - Sulabh International which runs the ubiquitous public toilets in India. Bindheshwar Pathak, wins the award for his Sulabh Sanitation Movement which has developed a simple and efficient method for producing bio-gas from human waste in public toilets. Also, using a simple technology called the Sulabh Effluent Treatment it can treat the waste water rendering it odorless, colorless and pathogen-free before releasing it back into the environment.

Its showcase project is a huge public toilet with bio-gas production facility in Shirdi, Maharashtra. Its the biggest such facility in the world and thirty thousand people can use the public toilets per day. Apart from creating sustainable and renewable energy it contributes big time to keeping the environment hygienic.

All The Winners

The list of all the International winners is here. It presents a list of interesting projects from around the globe, which I cannot do true justice to in this post. They range from solar driers to sustainable building to bio-gas projects. Please take time to go through the link to get an idea of how different peoples and cultures do their bit to get to a more sustainable existence.