Founder and Chairman, SELCO India
Dr. Harish Hande is the co-founder and Chairman of SELCO Solar Light Pvt Ltd, a social enterprise established in 1995 that provides affordable renewable energy services to the poor and underserved households in rural India. He is the CEO of SELCO Foundation, an open source, not-for-profit platform creating solutions linking sustainable energy to poverty eradication.
Dr. Harish is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and he holds a Masters and a PhD from the University of Massachusetts. He returned to India to start SELCO in 1994-1995 after experiencing the benefits of solar energy in rural areas of Dominican Republic and Sri Lanka. Having installed the first 1,000 home lighting systems on his own and over 2,10,000 households now through his company SELCO India, Harish is recognized as a pioneer of rural energy service across the globe. He and his company have received many national and international awards, including the Ashden Award (2005 and 2007), The Tech Museum award (2005), Khemka Social Entrepreneur of the Year (2007) and the Financial Times–ArcelorMittal Boldness in Business Award (2009). Harish was one of the 21 CEOs invited to meet U.S. President Barrack Obama during his visit to Mumbai last year. In 2008, he was chosen by Business Today as one of the 21 young leaders for India’s 21st century. In mid-2008, India Today named him one of the 50 pioneers of change in India. He was awarded with Asia's prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for 2011 for “his pragmatic efforts to put solar power technology in the hands of the poor, through his social enterprise SELCO India”. In November 2011, the Govt. Of Karnataka honoured him with the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award for his contribution to the sector of science and technology. In 2013, the trustees of University of Massachusetts, awarded him with a Doctorate of Humane Letters.