A company that puts solar power at the heart of local communities and enables them to develop an economic centre at grass-roots level has won the 2015 Erasmus Energy Business Award. The award was presented on Thursday 18 June to Berlin-based company Solarkiosk at the fourth annual Erasmus Energy Forum in Rotterdam, hosted by Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM).

Solarkiosk’s E-HUBB units create solar power where mains power is not available. Uses include water purification stations, health centres, business hubs and refugee camps. Their use reduces CO2 emissions from wood fires – and the resulting deforestation effects of using wood as fuel.

Innovative sustainable business model

The Erasmus Energy Business Award judges said Solarkiosk’s E-HUBB was a well-engineered product with ‘good product development targeted at providing energy in areas that matter’ and commended the way it involves local people and uses a local business model. Solarkiosk describes its E-HUBB as ‘enabling and empowering sustainable economic development in base-of-pyramid communities worldwide’. The power hubs are used in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Botswana and Ghana.

The Erasmus Energy Business Award for the best and most innovative sustainable business idea was presented by Volker Beckers, chairman of the Advisory Board of the Erasmus Centre for Future Energy Business (ECFEB), which is RSM’s specialist research centre, during the Erasmus Energy Forum on Thursday, 18 June 2015. The Erasmus Energy Business Award is sponsored by energy grid network operator, Stedin.


Three entries made it to the final selection shortlist for the Erasmus Energy Business Award, and were judged on their innovation, sustainability, viability and impact. In addition to winner Solarkiosk, the two runners-up were;

  • Rural Spark, based in’s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands, which offers a pre-paid energy-generator kit. The Rural Spark Share Cube is a modular battery pack that can store surplus energy. Rural Spark’s business model encourages consumers to trade energy and become entrepreneurs. “Its potential is substantial,” said the judges, adding that its limited product range ‘may be a strength’. Rural Spark’s energy networks with smart distribution are based on multiple energy sources, and are used in rural areas of India.
  • Eco Wave Power, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, has designed a system for harvesting a continuous power supply from waves using uniquely shaped buoys: ‘the wave clapper’ and the ‘power wing’. They transfer energy from wave motion to a hydro-pneumatic system based on shore, which aids reliability and access for maintenance and repair. “Eco Wave Power’s split units are well-engineered and smart with high potential for producing decentralised energy. The manufacturing costs sound interesting – a system with high potential,” said the judges.

Judges were Volker Beckers, Chairman of the ECFEB Advisory Board and former CEO of RWE Npower; Dirk Schlesinger, MD of Global Manufacturing Lead and Internet Business Solutions at Cisco Systems; Jan Paul Buijs, Manager CIO Office at Enexis BV; Ruud Melieste, Economist for  Corporate Strategy at Port of Rotterdam; Rick Heerink, Change & Innovation Manager at Stedin; and Professor John Collins of the University of Minnesota.

Erasmus Energy Forum

Since its inception in 2012, the annual Erasmus Energy Forum event, organised and hosted by the Erasmus Centre for Future Energy Business at RSM has grown in size and influence. Annual events in 2012, 2013, and 2014 brought together representatives from a wide range of industries, academia and politics, in front of large influential audiences. The Forum features world-class thinkers, academics and leaders from a wide range of business and industry sectors – including transport, power producers, equities and unions – as well as leading academics addressing major themes from the perspectives of all stakeholders in front of an international audience.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. www.rsm.nl

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at harriford@rsm.nl.

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