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Finance & Innovation

These Incredible Innovations Won a Big Award for Sustainable Energy

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Every year, the London-based charity Ashden recognizes businesses, non-governmental organizations, and government initiatives for their groundbreaking work in the development of renewable energy solutions.

This year, six international organizations and businesses received Ashden Awards for their innovative programs, products, and services tackling the world’s sustainable energy problem.

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The Ashden Awards were created by Sarah Butler-Sloss, who established the Ashden organization out of frustration with the lack of progress in clean energy after seeing its potential in off-grid African communities.

This year’s winners are working toward making the world more sustainable by providing off-the-grid solar energy, making travel more efficient, reducing emissions, and much more. Along with the honor of the prize, winners from around the world received £20,000 ($26,637), a global platform on which to spotlight their work, and a network of support from Ashden.

Six winners were announced last week, including organizations from the United States, India, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Nigeria. The awards were held Thursday in London at the Royal Geographical Society.

Here are some of this year's prize recipients.

Lumos Global

Lumos Global is Nigeria’s largest off-grid solar energy provider. The company offers solar panels that come with easy self-installation mounting kits. The solar panels can be used to power several household essentials simultaneously — like LED lights, a phone charger, a 40” TV, and a fan — and offer a consistent power source during outages of Nigeria’s unreliable national grid.

Lumos Global’s approach is most innovative for its “pay-as-you-go” system. Instead of buying solar panels, customers pay only for what they use and making payments through their mobile phones. Customers can select a flexible plan that suits their electricity needs. On top of that, each control unit comes with a SIM card that can send troubleshooting data to the 24-hour customer support staff.

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Shuttl

The New Delhi-based startup Shuttl is a shuttle service accessed by mobile app that has reduced the number of car rides taken in the city from 2.6 million to 1.6 million since its creation in 2015. That has saved 2,000-3,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. By providing an efficient, comfortable, and safe method of public transportation, Shuttl connects out-of-network parts of India’s capital to one another while reducing traffic and encouraging people to leave their cars at home.

Through the app, new routes are created by user requests, which Shuttl aggregates to create optimized schedules and routes that ensures the best service to its customers. Payment is handled through the app and costs customers an average of $1.50 for a 20-mile ride, comparable to the publicly run Delhi Metro.

Read More: Olympics 2020: The Road to Tokyo Will Be Paved With Solar Panels

Ecozen Solutions

Ecozen Solutions is an India-based company that provides containers that are solar-powered and temperature- and humidity-controlled, with inventory functionality built into a smartphone app. The 1,000 farmers who have connected to the device via Bluetooth so far have seen their profits increase up to 40% just by being able to preserve their harvest.

Rose farmers, for example, could only keep their flowers for two days before selling to the market. With Ecozen, farmers can monitor the price of roses for up to 21 days before delivering to local markets. If widely adopted, such a system could also have major implications for preventing food loss.

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