SolarAid has been awarded £500,000 after winning the Global Impact Award as part of Google’s Global Impact Challenge.  

The award will help the UK-based charity distribute 144,000 solar lights across rural Tanzania as well as creating jobs for over 400 solar entrepreneurs.

Commenting on the charity’s achievement Steve Andrews, SolarAid’s CEO said: “Giving people access to simple solar technology impacts poverty and changes lives forever. The Global Impact Award will not only help us get 144,000 solar lights into Tanzania but create a sustainable model for solar distribution, market and job creation we can replicate across the continent. The impact of the technology and the effect of the award will be astounding.”

The Global Impact Award was decided by a panel of judges which included Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Sir Richard Branson. Another three UK charities were amongst the winners awarded £500,000 including Apps for Good, Integrity Action and Zoological Society of London.  

Bestselling author Ian McEwan explained why he thought SolarAid was a worthy winner, he said: “Without light there is no literacy. SolarAid’s simple technology and brilliantly conceived networks are bringing rural African children out of the dark.”

Pippa Palmer, SolarAid MD, concluded: “I would like to thank everyone who voted for SolarAid and helped spread the word. Google has given us a fantastic opportunity to highlight the life-changing impact of the simple solar light. We’ll be using the incredible momentum to build even more awareness of SolarAid’s work to reach millions living without electricity.”