Jul 21, 2014

Solar Power in India: Making it Affordable for People without Electricity via @Sustainablog

Sustainablog ; Have you priced a solar energy system for your home lately? While new incentives and financing options make solar power more attractive than ever, purchasing a system isn't cheap: you're still looking at $20,000 minimum in most cases (before incentives, of course). Now, imagine you've never been able to afford electricity for your home, and trying to make ends meet on less than $10 a day. A solar system, even a small one that could run a light, and maybe charge a phone, could easily create a ton of opportunity for you and your family… but there's no way you can afford to purchase one.

400 million people – more than the entire population of the United States – live in such circumstances in India. In spite of these overwhelming numbers, the country's current prime minister, Narenda Modi, wants all of them to have access to solar power in the next five years… at least enough to power a light bulb. Given the economic circumstances of these people, that sounds like a tall order… as long as these people believe purchasing a solar panel or system is their only option. But just as in Central America and Africa, a different business model can make solar available to India's most impoverished citizens.

We associate "pay as you go" with cheap cell phone access, but, as we've shown before, this model is working for electricity in the developing world. In India, the poor have access to energy either with wood or with diesel. Both are dirty, unhealthy, and expensive in terms of either time or money. Simpa Networks, an Indian company, sees an opportunity to provide its fellow citizens with clean electricity through a pay-as-you-go model. A simple solar system that could power a few lights and a phone charger would run about $300-400 retail, but the company can provide them to its fellow citizens "if only they could pay for such a system over time, in small, irregular, and user-defined increments."

Please read full and follow at:  The post Solar Power in India: Making it Affordable for People without Electricity at Sustainablog