Energy challenge to provide power for war returnees in Bosnia and Herzegovina

30 Nov 2012

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Sarajevo -- The United Nations Development Programme launched a global challenge to find a renewable energy solution capable of providing off-grid power, with a $20,000 cash prize for the winner.

More than 3,000 families who returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina over 10 years ago after the war are still waiting for access to electricity. For most of returnees, houses have been reconstructed and basic living conditions restored, but they cannot refrigerate their food or illuminate their home.

The challenge, in partnership with Nesta, a UK-based charity that works to bring “great ideas to life,” calls for a sustainable, cost-effective solution for a standalone, off-grid renewable energy supply that can produce an average of 1,25 kWh and 120 litres of hot-water a day, to cover the needs of an average family in rural areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina that will not cost more than €5,000.

UNDP will pilot the winning solution in a rural area for up to 50 returnee families in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2013. The winning solution, if successful,  may be replicated in other parts of the world to produce off-grid renewable energy for refugees and returnees. The market potential for the challenge winner is significant.

The challenge is part of UNDP’s initiative to develop innovative solutions to global problems.