Solar For All : Design Contest


“Solar for All” initiative launches contest on innovative photovoltaic off-grid power supply systems

Ashoka and Canopus Foundation, initiators of the ‘Solar for All’ initiative, announce the “Solar for All” competition on innovative low-cost photovoltaic systems and customer financing schemes. The contest aims at manufacturers, PV system integrators, and social entrepreneurs providing sustainable and reliable energy to low income end-users without access to the electricity grid.

“Until today the access to modern energy is constrained by factors such as limited access to appropriate affordable technology, fragmented small markets, prohibitive taxes, and limited financial resources,” Prof Eicke Weber, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy ISE and chairman of the jury explains. “The ‘Solar for All’ initiative wants to meet the technical and financial challenge with a global design contest.”

The final preparatory work has been concluded in a workshop with the jury hosted by Dipal Barua, managing director of Grameen Shakti, in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

“A lot of projects in the past failed because the project developers were not taking an end-user perspective”, remarks Peter Heller, Director of Canopus Foundation. “Our contest will motivate key-players to focus on end user needs, enhance modularity, scalability and replicability of PV systems as well as design innovative payment and financing schemes.”

The winner of the ‘Solar for All’ contest will be awarded a $250,000 investment by Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation. Three of the finalists will also be recognized for innovations in technology, finance and marketing. Participants in the contest could also be supported by a projected $100 million solar investment fund. This new fund, to be established by the ‘Solar for All’ initiative, will invest across the PV solar value chain, including microfinance support. David Green of Ashoka shares “we want the fund investment criteria to tilt the solar industry in the direction of affordable solar energy for low income communities”.

The contest begins on December 1st, 2009 and the submission period ends on April 30th, 2010. For further information go to:

The initiative ‘Solar for All’

‘Solar for All’ is a global initiative that wants to take a big step ahead in making solar energy affordable to the 1.6 billion people on this planet without access to electricity.

The initiative was founded by Canopus Foundation and Ashoka, and is by now supported by a consortium of world-renowned key actors including the Artemisia Foundation, Avina Stiftung, the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, the elea Foundation, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, the Lemelson Foundation, and the Woodcock Foundation.