»Solar for All« Contest 2016

Search for innovative community solar electrification solutions

In 2015, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE and the Canopus Foundation initiated a second »Solar for All« contest, aiming further up the energy ladder by boosting community solar photovoltaic (PV) electrification solutions and their highly recognised potential for rural development. This newly developing and dynamic sector recently benefitted from falling costs of solar energy technology and gained increasing global attention. As a result, off-grid solar solutions constitute a cost-effective alternative to conventional fossil fuel and central electricity generation for developing regions such as South Asia, Africa and South America. With established young technology enterprises and project developers recognising the high potential of village- and mini-grids for rural development, the second »Solar for All« contest aimed to provide guidelines for quality and support the innovation and effective implementation of these new exciting technologies. Moving from ‘fiction to facts’, the contest intended to dissolve unrealistic investor and industry partner expectations, and aimed to create international recognition for promising projects.

»Solar for All« gathered a group of international experts in the fields of renewable energy, energy access and rural development forming an experienced jury to meet on two occasions, to finalize the application guidelines and to determine the contest winners, respectively. The technical assessment and evaluation of applications was undertaken by the Fraunhofer ISE. The Canopus Foundation was responsible for organizing and coordinating the contest.

The awards were presented to outstanding projects. The first prize, a 400,000€ loan for 8 years at 6% interest and no collateral required, was divided equally between Boond Engineering and Mera Gao Power, both from India. A crowdfunding campaign has been launched by bettervest GmbH through its crowdfunding platform to raise the prize money. Canopus and a second sponsor guarantee the provision of the full amount of the loan to the winner independent of the success of the crowdfunding campaign.

The runner-up Devergy received a special prize of 10,000€ from the Siemens Stiftung as well as an offer of membership in their international “empowering.people Network” support program that promotes relevant technological and entrepreneurial approaches with potential for basic supply and sustainable development.