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Indian solar group wins top UK award

Last updated on: July 02, 2010 18:54 IST

D. light Design, an Indian social enterprise that brings innovative solar lanterns to many people across India and other developing countries, has won the top Gold Award at the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy 2010.

The prize, worth 40,000 pounds, was announced on Thursday night by noted environmentalist and broadcaster, Sir David Attenborough.

D. light Design was chosen for designing, manufacturing and marketing high quality, durable and affordable solar lanterns.

In the words of the judges, the enterprise was chosen for the Gold Award for 'its passion and dedication to the cause of ridding the developing world of the health and pollution problems associated with the use of kerosene lighting through the design, manufacture and promotion of durable and affordable solar lanterns in India and across the developing world.'

The judges were particularly impressed with their highly effective marketing strategy which has put solar lighting within reach of over a million people in 32 countries with significant potential for further expansion.

Five other international winners were also chosen for their pioneering work in benefiting communities across the globe and saving thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide through the innovative use of sustainable energy technologies.

Attenborough said: "These award-winners are champions at delivering practical ways of protecting our planet and its precious biodiversity through the use of sustainable energy.

They are reducing carbon emissions and protecting local eco-systems, while improving the lives of the people they touch.

"They deserve to be celebrated for their important role in tackling both climate change and poverty."

Sarah Butler-Sloss, founder director of the Ashden Awards said: "Our 2010 winners are living proof of the significant contribution that local sustainable energy initiatives can make to tackling poverty, lack of access to resources and the threat of climate change.

"We are delighted that we can highlight the work of these pioneering projects in the hope that decision-makers across the globe will be inspired by what can be achieved through the strategic use of simple, yet innovative technologies."

Other international winners were: Creluz (Brazil), Tecnosol (Nigeria), Sky Link Innovators (Kenya), Rural Energy Foundation (Sub-Saharan Africa) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and SNV, Vietnam.

The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy were founded in 2001 to encourage the greater use of local sustainable energy to address climate change and alleviate poverty. Since then they have rewarded over 140 winners across the UK and the developing world.

The Ashden Awards work to show-case and celebrate best practice, encourage the expansion and replication of winners work, raise awareness of the potential of local sustainable energy, and advocate on their winners' behalf.

D.Light Design bags second round of funding

D.light Design has secured $5.5 million in Series B financing.  The funding will be used to increase the distribution in Asia and Africa. It will also be used to expand the product line to other solar-powered consumer electronics.

The second round is led by new investor Omidyar Network and includes all major Series A investors, including Acumen Fund, Nexus Venture Partners, Gray Matters Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Garage Technology Ventures.

D.light now sells its products in about 35 countries around the world.

Image: Nova S200 (also known as Nova Mobile), with mobile phone charging feature.
Photograph: D.light Design
Prasun Sonwalkar in London
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