Zayed Future Energy Prize Winner Gives Back to the Community

Published October 15th, 2009 - 10:22 GMT
Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Director General of the Zayed Future Energy Prize and Chief Executive Officer of Masdar – a wholly owned subsidiary of Mubadala - recently visited Bangladesh to witness firsthand the immense impact the Prize has had on the region after the prize money was used to create a scholarship fund and expand the deployment of solar energy devices in rural Bangladesh. Mr. Dipal Barua, the winner of the inaugural 2009 Zayed Future Energy Prize, has used the $1.5million cash prize to create The Zayed Future Energy Scholarship Fund to promote rural women as green entrepreneurs throughout rural Bangladesh and educate people on the importance of using alternative energy sources.
Dr Sultan awarded certificates to the female technicians and entrepreneurs who have received training from Grameen Technology Center that benefited from the Prize fund. The centre has trained over 500 women to assemble, repair and maintain solar home systems and is planning to generate over one million green energy entrepreneurs, through the scholarship, by 2015.
“Seeing firsthand the impact the prize has had on the daily lives of so many people is incredibly moving,” commented Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Director General of the Prize and Chief Executive Officer of Masdar. “It is truly inspiring to see the potential of renewable energy technology in the developing world. Mr Barua has made it a viable source of energy while simultaneously improving the livelihood of the rural population by creating jobs and opportunity.”
Mr. Barua, who was announced winner of the inaugural 2009 Zayed Future Energy Prize, developed and implemented energy solutions for the rural population of Bangladesh through an ambitious program where more than 200,000 solar home systems have been installed to bring renewable energy to more than 2 million rural people in off-grid areas of Bangladesh.
Mr Barua, Director of Grameen Shakti and the winner of the inaugural 2009 Zayed Future Energy Prize, commented: “It was a pleasure to have representative of the prize as we were able to show them how the prize had impacted so many people, and how our programme can spiral to impact so many more. The Prize enabled us to extrapolate our expansion plans and we are confident that we can make a real difference to rural Bangladesh as well as reducing the carbon footprint of the country.”
The Prize, in its first year has directly impacted the rural community; granting women the opportunity to set up and run small businesses and increasing the number of installed solar home systems. A total of ten women received financial support from the Zayed Future Energy Scholarship to help them establish their own businesses focused in repairing solar modules and training more women in becoming solar technicians. In addition, since January 2009, over 100,000 additional solar home systems have been installed to now benefit a total of 3 million rural people.
The Zayed Future Energy Prize was created in honour of the legacy of the late Ruler of Abu Dhabi and Founding Father of the United Arab Emirates, HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. This international prize is awarded annually to up to three individuals, companies, organizations and/or NGOs that have made significant contributions in the global response to the future of energy, climate change and sustainable global energy resources.

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