Orb Solar is one of India’s leading providers of solar energy systems and the largest direct provider of off-grid solar systems in India. Orb sells, installs, and services a full range of off-grid solar systems: solar photovoltaic systems for lighting and back-up power, solar thermal for hot water, solar street lighting for security, as well as energy efficient lights, fans and other appliances. Over the last four years, Orb has installed approximately 25,000 solar systems.
In June last year ,Orb Energy Pte Ltd. (Orb), one of India’s leading providers of solar energy systems, and Acumen Fund, a nonprofit global venture firm addressing poverty in South Asia and East Africa, announced a partnership to address energy needs for millions of Indians without reliable electricity. Acumen Fund made a significant equity investment to help Orb extend its household lighting systems to more rural customers, to scale its manufacturing, and to develop innovative products to meet the needs of its low income customers.
India’s rural Base of the Pyramid (BoP) population consists of 114 million households, 45% of which do not have reliable access to electricity and rely on kerosene for lighting – which is costly, hazardous, and environmentally destructive. Orb’s solar lighting systems for households provide a small-scale renewable energy access option, helping them take control of their energy needs and save money on their electricity bill. However, until recently, the cost of solar home systems put them out of reach of the poorest markets.
The company had plans to use it to more than double the number of branches and employees over the next two years, and to take monthly sales and installations from 1,000 to 2,000 systems per month.
His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, today presented the prestigious 2012 Zayed Future Energy Prize to 3 winners and 2 runners up at the awards ceremony held in Emirates Palace.
His Highness said: “The Zayed Future Energy Prize has become a beacon of light, stimulating thinkers and creators while encouraging the world to accelerate innovation in renewable energy and sustainability. This Prize is a clear manifestation of the vision of the late founding father of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan – who placed a priority on investing in human capital and the preservation of our natural resources for generations to come.”
The Prize total of US$3.5 million was awarded in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) & Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) category to the UK’s Carbon Disclosure Project whilst India’s Orb Energy and Environmental Defence Fund of the US were first and second runners-up respectively in the same category. Dr Ashok Gadgil from the US won the Lifetime Achievement award while French company Schneider Electric received a Recognition Award in the Large Corporations category.
In the SME & NGO category, Carbon Disclosure Project was awarded US$1.5 million, while Orb Energy was named first runner-up with a cash prize of US$1 million and Environmental Defense Fund took away US$500,000 as the second runner-up.
All three finalists excelled in demonstrating clear impact through their work in disseminating solutions to further knowledge, creating awareness, as well as developing policies and technologies in renewable energy and sustainability.