Washington, DC, April 3, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nominations are now open for the first round of the Global LEAP Outstanding Off-Grid Product Awards. The Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP) is an initiative under the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) focused on catalyzing markets to deliver increased access to modern energy services. The Awards program will recognize the highest quality, most efficient and affordable products designed for use by off-grid households and businesses. The Awards' first round of competition covers six categories of affordable, super-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) room lighting appliances.
"More than a billion people around the world still lack access to adequate electricity," said Global LEAP initiative lead Caroline McGregor. "Solving energy poverty is a critical path to economic development. Raising the efficiency of appliances on the market will help those off-grid households and businesses do more with the limited power they may have available."
Millions of off-grid energy systems are used by households and small businesses throughout Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. These systems typically run off a 12-volt battery (e.g., a car battery) that may either be charged by a small solar photovoltaic (PV) panel on the roof (i.e., solar home systems) or charged for a fee elsewhere in town. These household systems are expected to become even more widely used in the next several years as the cost of solar PV panels falls, developing world incomes rise, and financing mechanisms expand.
As more of the world's poor have access to small energy systems and replace dirty, expensive, unhealthy kerosene lamps with modern lighting, Global LEAP is working to drive improved technologies into the market for the low-voltage appliances used with these household systems, providing an incentive for manufacturers in this market to innovate.
To cash-poor off-grid households and small businesses in the developing world, LEDs offer a better product at a better price, compared to compact fluorescents (CFLs) or incandescent lamps, which currently dominate the market. LEDs offer all the light of incandescent bulbs while using approximately 90% less energy; LEDs also use 50% less energy than comparable CFLs and are more durable. This means that with LEDs, a family could install lights in more rooms of the house without needing a more powerful (and more expensive) home system.
"The goal of the Global LEAP Awards is to identify the very best LED appliances for off-grid communities, as there is currently no way for customers to differentiate the quality products from the junk," said McGregor. "When off-grid households start seeing the benefits of these products, and see that they're affordable and reliable, then they'll spread the word to their friends and neighbors. That increased demand will attract industry and bring the economies of scale that drive down prices, making energy and its benefits more accessible to a wider segment of the population."
Winning products will be recognized at an international Clean Energy Ministerial ceremony in 2014. Winners and Finalists will also be featured in a widely distributed Outstanding Off-Grid Products procurement guide for bulk purchasers like national and international governments, wholesale distributors, and social enterprises.
Manufacturers of eligible products can find more information and nominate their products at http://www.GlobalLEAPAwards.org.
About the Clean Energy Ministerial
The Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) is a high-level global forum to share best practices and promote policies and programs that encourage and facilitate the transition to a global clean energy economy. CEM initiatives are based on areas of common interest among participating governments and other stakeholders and help reduce emissions, improve energy security, provide energy access, and sustain economic growth. The Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP) is an initiative of the CEM. http://cleanenergyministerial.org/GlobalLEAP
CONTACT: GlobalLEAP@hq.doe.gov +1.202.662.7229
Source: Clean Energy Ministerial Secretariat