The winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize were announced this morning with the SolarAid team huddled around their laptops in the early hours waiting for the news to filter through from Abu Dhabi. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be as Kopernik scooped the award in the non-profit category meaning SolarAid miss out on the $1.5 million prize for a second year running.
It’s still a great achievement to be considered for such a prestigious award two years running so we’d like to take this opportunity to thank our amazing supporters and partners. Supporters like Ethan who made this awesome animated video to help showcase the benefits of solar lights. Or Keith Neal and Joseph Karanja who have been using solar lights as a symbol of peace in conflict areas of Baringo County, Kenya. You are the reason we’ve been able to have such an amazing impact over the years.
And the same goes for our customers in Africa. We’ve heard so many inspirational stories from people saving up their hard earned money to invest in a solar so they can set up their own solar business, or pay for their kids to go to school.
And, of course, we cannot forget the likes of 9BAR, Google, DFID, Virgin, the Guardian, Ashden, Radio 4, the Times and Solarcentury who’ve all played a huge role in helping us improve the lives of 10 million people across East Africa. A big big thanks to you all.
And finally there’s our our amazing SunnyMoney teams who spend weeks away from their family spreading light across East Africa. It is they who have worked their socks off to get lights to so many people. Without them, there would be no impact.
So what now for SolarAid? Well, in the wake of December’s COP21 climate summit in Paris the world finds itself at a pivotal moment in its history. World leaders came together and agreed to stick to strict climate limits, which essentially means the phasing out of fossil fuels by 2050. All that’s left is the important task of working out the best way to make this happen.
Every government on the planet will revisit strategies and plans to fit into this new low carbon planet now. So too will civil society, states, cities, companies, NGOs and the all rest. We at SolarAid and SunnyMoney will be doing the same. We are entering a time of great change, and opportunity to do social good. But old rules no longer necessary apply.
Over the next few weeks we will be assessing our place within the off-grid energy sector, and determining exactly how we can continue to play a leading role in the transition to a low carbon future.
It’s been an exciting journey so far, make sure you stay with us for the next chapter.