In July 2008 the India Solar Home Systems Project has been awarded the
UN21 Award for 2007 in the category of 'Field Projects'.
The project has created a new business model for financing domestic
renewable energy including solar water heating systems. This model is
now being picked up in other countries including Morocco and Tunisia
as well as in Albania, Algeria, Chile, Egypt, Ghana, Indonesia and
Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Serbia and Tunisia.
The project started In 2003 with the support of the UN Foundation and
the Shell Foundation, when UNEP and URC teamed up with local Canara
Bank, Syndicate Bank and associate Rural Grameen Banks. Funding was
used to buy down the cost of solar loans for people in parts of
southern India where electricity is either absent or unreliable.
Over four years an estimated 100,000 people have been able to afford
clean and reliable solar power and the initiative is self-financing.
Today 20 banks with networks of 2,000 branches are offering
competitive solar loans.