ME SOLshare, a social enterprise that works on ICT enabled products and services, celebrated its win in the UN DESA Powering The Future We Want Award 2017 on Monday.
The celebration was arranged at the SOLshare office in Dhaka’s DOHS Baridhara.
Founded in 2014, SOLshare provides peer-to-peer solar energy trading platforms and pay-as-you-go solutions to low-income households seeking rural electrification and empowerment.
The United Nations awarded the company $1 million for its solar entrepreneurship initiative to aid rural electrification in Bangladesh at the UN headquarters in New York on November 21 this year.
At the celebration on Monday, SOLshare, in collaboration with IUB-CCSE, demonstrated the strength of the solar power initiative in Bangladeshi villages through a 360° virtual reality tour of one of their SOLgrids in Panchargarh. A cake was also cut to mark the occasion.
Speaking at the event, German Ambassador to Bangladesh Dr Thomas Prinz said: “This is the future. If households in villages can use renewable energy for harvest and other work, it could decrease the use of power and consumption of resources such as gas.”.
In addition, Deputy CEO and CFO of IDCOL SM Monirul Islam urged SOLshare to expand its initiative to all corners of Bangladesh, as the demand for electricity in rural areas is increasing everyday and increased use of solar power could ease pressure on the national grid.
Furthermore, Lawmaker Saber HossainChowdhury said that it was a mark of Bangladesh’s progress that the country was now working on joint-ventures with Germany, whereas it only used to take donations from the European country in the past.
Dr Sebastian Groh, managing director of SOLshare Ltd, thanked all project partners and well wishers for their support in winning the award.
Sonia Kabir, managing director of Microsoft Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Laos, also spoke at the event, among others.
Grameen Shakti and ME SOLshare received the grant for their joint project, which will allow villagers to use solar power, save money through flexible energy access, and generate income by trading electricity.
The partnership estimates that the grant money will enable them to establish a minimum of 100 smart grids, for use by over 15,000 beneficiaries.
The grant will be used to scale up and replicate peer-to-peer solar mini grids, and to leverage the electricity sharing grid infrastructure to power electric rickshaws, run solar water pumps, energy efficient fridges and other appliances.