Chinese solar energy project wins UK prize

The Rural Energy Development Programme (REDP), a pioneering Chinese solar power scheme that has provided electricity to 1.6 million people in remote areas of western China, has won a £20,000 (USD$39,500) Ashden Award for sustainable energy.

Luo Xinlian, REDP’s technology improvement manager, accepted the prize at a ceremony in London on Thursday at which the Kenyan Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai also presented awards to other seven international projects and several British ones.

Set up in 2001 by China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the World Bank, REDP has promoted the installation of photovoltaic (PV) solar home systems in off-grid homes in nine western Chinese provinces. More than 400,000 small solar home systems – providing brighter, cleaner lighting – have been provided so far.

The top international Ashden prize for 2008 went to Technology Informatics Design Endeavour (TIDE), which has developed and adapted energy-efficient woodstoves and kilns for small businesses in southern India.

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