SolarAid reaches Google Global Impact Challenge finals

The UK-based charity SolarAid has been selected as one of 10 Google Global Impact Challenge finalists.

The search engine giant is offering the finalists the opportunity to win a £500,000 Global Impact Award.

The Google Global Impact Challenge is designed to help support British non-profits ‘using technology and innovation to tackle the worlds biggest challenges’ which have a ‘healthy disregard for the impossible’.

Commenting on the impact that the award could have on the charity, Steve Andrews, SolarAid’s CEO said: “The Google Global Impact Award would give us vital funds to build a sustainable distribution network across Tanzania, creating jobs for a new generation of solar entrepreneurs.

“This pilot will act as a model for other African countries. SolarAid’s innovative strategy to help build a market for solar lights is not only an effective way to tackle poverty but one of the easiest ways to combat global warming.”

The solar-powered lights offered by SolarAid have been a great success with demand so high that sales grew by 720% in 2012.

Pippa Palmer, SolarAid managing director commented: “Winning a Google Global Impact Award would enable SolarAid to get another 144,000 lights into Tanzanian schools in just one year, and train 400 school leavers as solar light sellers – creating much needed jobs”.

Sir Richard Branson, Global Impact Challenge judge and Virgin founder concluded: “We have to celebrate the most creative charities and social entrepreneurs in our country. These charities set the bar for all of us and we should all look at how we can support them.”

Voting is open until 31 May and can be viewed here.