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SolarWorld Einstein Award 2010 to go to Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus

19-08-10

SolarWorld AG this year will honor Nobel Peace Prize laureate and micro-finance pioneer Muhammad Yunus by presenting the 2010 SolarWorld Einstein Award to him in September. The professor of economics from Bangladesh and founder of the Grameen Bank will receive the award in recognition of his breakthrough concept of micro-loans for the poor, which have helped millions of people worldwide to escape poverty. The micro-loans have, among other things, made possible installations of more than 400,000 small solar power systems, securing energy supplies for people in rural regions of Bangladesh who live far from the national utility grid.

“Professor Yunus stands for radically new thinking in economics and banking. He has recognized the potential of the poorest of this world who manage to make a decent living on the basis of a small starting credit, a lot of creativity and the sun as the source of energy. This is more than exemplary,” explains Dr. Ing. h. c. Frank Asbeck, chairman and CEO of SolarWorld AG.

On the basis of micro-loans granted by banks held by the Grameen family since 1983, Yunus developed the concept of “social business,” which has inspired similar activity worldwide. This type of business does not strive to maximize profits and generate dividends but to solve social and ecological problems. Social business companies make available technologies for clean drinking water, affordable medication or inexpensive, clean energy.

The nonprofit company Grameen Shakti (GS) is such a social business, which since its founding in 1996 has dedicated itself to providing energy to off-grid rural regions of Bangladesh. With help from micro-loans, program recipients can obtain small off-grid solar power plants. This clean energy enables regional residents to work after dark, learn more in school and operate electric machines, radios and mobile phones. At the same time, it reduces climate and health hazards emanating from kerosene lamps. Thousands of women were trained in the installation and maintenance of these solar plants, providing them a reliable income. Due to savings on kerosene costs, solar plant owners can pay back the loans within two to three years. GS is pursuing the objective of installing 1 million solar power systems by the year 2015.

The SolarWorld Einstein Award 2010 will be presented in a ceremony on the occasion of the 25th European Photovoltaic Conference in Valencia, Spain, on Sept. 6, 2010. In the same ceremony, the SolarWorld Junior Einstein Award 2010, bestowed upon young scientists in the field of solar technology, will also be presented. For further information and media registration, please go to www.einstein-award.de.

The Award Winner

Prof. Muhammad Yunus was born in Chittagong, Bangladesh, in 1940. After studying economics, he worked as an assistant professor at Middle Tennessee State University in the United States, returning to Bangladesh in 1974. There, he was appointed head of the Economics Department of Chittagong University. The key experience that triggered his idea of the micro-loans came in a visit to the village of Jobra, where he saw at close quarters how difficult it was for poor people to get startup capital for even the smallest enterprises. He worked intensively on the problem, eventually developing the system of micro-loans, which, unlike conventional loans, are granted to people who have no money or collateral. As a result, poor people no longer must take out loans at exorbitant interest rates.

The SolarWorld Einstein Award

The SolarWorld Einstein Award has been awarded since 2005 to figures in science, industry, politics and elsewhere in society who have acquired outstanding merit in the field of photovoltaic technology. In recent years, award winners have included Dr. Rupert Neudeck (founder of the so-called Green Helmets), Prof. Antonio Luque-Lopez (Spanish photovoltaic pioneer), Prof. Martin Green (developer of the most efficient mono-crystalline solar cell), Prof. Adolf Goetzberger (founder of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems), Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer (former German environment minister and former executive director of the United Nations Environment Program) and Dr. Hermann Scheer (one of the spiritual fathers of the German law on renewable energy sources).

About the SolarWorld AG

The SolarWorld AG Group (ISIN: DE0005108401) is a world leader in supplying branded, high quality crystalline solar power technology. Its strength is the full integration of its solar production. From the raw material of silicon via wafers, cells and modules all the way to turn-key solar power plants including recycling the group combines all the stages of the solar value chain. The central business activity is the sales of quality modules to the specialist trade and of crystalline wafers to the international solar cell industry. Corporate headquarters are in Bonn. Production locations are in Germany, the USA and South Korea. The largest production facilities are operated by the group in Freiberg/Germany and Hillsboro/USA. Sustainability is the very basis of our corporate strategy. Under the name Solar2World the group funds aid projects in threshold and developing countries with off-grid solar power solutions that are examples for sustainable and economic development. Worldwide SolarWorld has more than 2,900 people on its payroll. SolarWorld AG has been quoted at the stock exchange since 1999 and is today listed among others in the technology indices TecDAX, ÖkoDAX, Dow Jones STOXX 600 as well as the sustainability indices DAXglobal Alternative Energy and NAI.

Contact SolarWorld AG

Press: Tel.-No.: 0228/55920-400, E-Mail: E-Mail: press(at)solarworld.de
Investor Relations: Tel.-No.: 0228/55920-470; Fax-Nr.: 0228/55920-9470, E-Mail: placement(at)solarworld.de Internet: www.solarworld.de



 
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