Pioneers in developing renewable energy in Bangladesh, China, India, Laos and Tanzania have won $60,000 each in awards for their work.
Prince Charles and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore presented the Ashden Awards to the winners, who included Beijing Shenzhou Daxu Bio-energy Technology Company Ltd., which markets a stove that burns crop waste instead of coal.
"These awards have told us how to illuminate the path to a sustainable future. I hope that we can make it quickly," Gore said at Thursday's awards ceremony.
Biotech of India won the Food Security Award for developing and installing biogas plants in Kerala State that use food waste which was otherwise left to rot.
Sunlabob Renewable Energies Ltd. of Laos won the Light and Power Award for developing a commercially viable business model to provide affordable, high quality solar photovoltaic systems to the rural poor.
Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha of Bangladesh won the Education and Welfare Award for building up a solar-powered fleet of 88 boats that bring education, training and renewable energy supplies to more than 400,000 people in the remote Chalanbeel region.
Zara Solar Ltd. of Tanzania won the Africa Award for providing reliable and affordable solar home systems at affordable prices to communities lacking other energy sources.
The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy were created in 2001 by the Ashden Trust, one of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts. This year's awards are funded by nine Sainsbury trusts, the John Ellerman Foundation, Esmee Fairbairn Charitable Trust and Climate Care.
Background on the awards is online at www.ashdentrust.org.uk