Two Bangladeshi companies have received the $1 million 2017 UN Energy grant from the United Nations in recognition of a novel project to spur solar entrepreneurship.
The UN DESAgrant was awarded to Grameen Shakti and ME SOLshare at the UN Headquarters in New York on Wednesday.
The two companies got the grant for their joint project that will allow villagers to secure more solar power, save money through flexible energy access, and generate income from trading electricity, said a UN press release.
According to the release, the project will also enable rural Bangladeshi villagers to become solar entrepreneurs by creating an interconnected platform where solar home system users and non-users can exchange electricity.
The project’s bottom-up mini grids seek to transform solar home systems into an income-generating asset.
The partnership estimates that the grant money will enable them to establish a minimum of 100 smart grids resulting in at least 15,000 beneficiaries. But the impact of the grant is going to be greater, as it is likely to inspire more such initiatives, said the release.
In a statement, the winning partnership said, “Grameen Shakti and SOLshare are deeply honored that our innovative idea of creating a countrywide platform where villagers can share their solar electricity among each other and become smart entrepreneurs has been selected as the winner of the 2017 Powering the Future We Want Grant Challenge by UN DESA.”
“Powering the Future We Want” programme is a “creative partnership that connects the intergovernmental work at UN Headquarters to action on the ground,” said DESA Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin.