Arc Projects: Microfinance

Renewable Energy Microfinance and Microenterprise Program (REMMP)

Arc is testing, piloting and expanding a number of business models that are focused on financing for sustainable energy including microfinance, remittances, asset finance, crowd-funding and pay as you go mechanisms. The end goal of REMMP is to increase access to finance for end users of clean energy services so as to improve livelihoods and quality of life among these target recipients.
For details on the REMMP project, click here.


The Partnership to Advance Clean Energy – Deployment Technical Assistance (PACE-D TA) Program

Arc is implementing the Microfinance Support Program (MSP) under The Partnership to Advance Clean Energy – Deployment Technical Assistance (PACE-D TA) Program, a five- year bilateral program with the objective to accelerate India’s transition to a high performing, low emission, and energy secure economy.
For details on the PACE-D project, click here.


Linking Energy and Microfinance: Promoting Innovations That Foster Scale

With support from the Citibank Foundation, Arc published and disseminated in-depth research on innovative affordability mechanisms for off-grid, clean energy. The projected documented how these financial products – including lending, savings, remittances and leasing products – have dramatically improved the livelihoods of poor people around the world.
For details on this project, click here.


Develop a Sustainable Cookstoves Sector

Arc is supporting Winrock International on its USAID-funded Developing a Sustainable Cookstove Sector program in Kenya. Arc is supporting Micro Enterprises Support Program Trust (MESPT), a microfinance institution that is a partner under the program, to develop new financial products for customers and distributers of efficient stoves. The overall goal of the project is to strengthen the cookstove sector in Kenya.


Rural Clean Energy Project: Latin America

In partnership with the Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy (BASE), Arc implemented a project funded by the World Bank/IFC to increase access to clean rural electrification in Latin America. Arc analyzed the business models of three Latin American organizations active in the energy sector (Emprenda in Peru and Argentina, Ecami in Nicaragua, and IDEAAS in Brazil) with the goal of improving the existing business models through introducing additional products and services, promoting alliances with financial institutions, and suggesting new financing mechanisms such as carbon finance, thereby facilitating expansion and replication.


Arc Knowledge Products: Microfinance

Arc Finance Fact Sheet

Arc Finance’s mission is to promote and expand access to financing for energy, water and other basic needs to build the income and assets of poor people around the world. Read our Fact Sheet (PDF). ►


Arc Finance Impact Fact Sheet

Arc Finance is committed to measuring the impact of all its programs in terms of increased availability of consumer financing for clean energy products and services. Arc also measures and reports on other indicators we view as important for our development agenda. Read our Fact Sheet (PDF). ►


Arc Finance REMMP Fact Sheet

USAID’s Renewable Energy Microfinance and Microenterprise Program (REMMP) is designed to improve access to modern energy services in underserved communities, while at the same time helping USAID partners reduce carbon emissions. A key goal of REMMP is to increase the availability of consumer financing for clean energy services and products to enable low-income populations gain access to technologies that can improve their livelihoods and quality of life while mitigating climate change. Read our Fact Sheet (PDF). ►


Arc Finance PACE-D TA Impact Fact Sheet

Arc Finance is committed to measuring the impact of its programs in terms of increased availability of consumer financing for clean energy products and services. Arc also measures and reports on other indicators we view as important for our development agenda. Read our Fact Sheet (PDF). ►


Arc Finance PACE-D TA Saija MFI Fact Sheet

Saija is an NBFC-MFI (Non Banking Finance Company-Micro Finance Institution) based in the state of Bihar, India, with headquarters in Patna. Saija targets small and micro businesses, in both urban and rural settings, in the underserved geographies of Northern and Eastern India. Under PACE-D, Arc is supporting Saija to develop and scale an energy lending program. Read our Saija Fact Sheet (PDF)


Arc Finance PACE-D TA ESAF MFI Fact Sheet

Evangelical Social Action Forum (ESAF) is a registered charitable society established in 1992 as a response to the social and economic needs of poor people. ESAF organizes community health solutions for the poor, and works on water sanitation, clean energy, nutrition and HIV/AIDS initiatives. Under PACE-D, Arc is supporting ESAF in scaling its energy lending program. Read our ESAF Fact Sheet (PDF). ►


Arc Finance PACE-D TA Sarala MFI Fact Sheet

Sarala, based in West Bengal, is a registered Section 25 not-for-profit company operating as a microfinance institution. It was established in 2006 with a mission to reduce poverty by providing high-quality financial services to low-income communities, with a particular focus on helping poor women gain access to credit. Under PACE-D, Arc is supporting Sarala to develop and scale an energy lending program. Read our Sarala Fact Sheet (PDF)


REMMP Energy Diaries Fact Sheet

The Energy Diaries is a new research methodology that studies energy uses and spending at the household level. The objective is to improve understanding of the daily realities of the energy poor, understand how energy poverty may impact women and men differently, illustrate what these gendered needs suggest about optimal energy products and services for this market, and identify relevant policy implications for stakeholders to better meet the needs of poor households. Read our Energy Diaries Fact Sheet (PDF).►


Sarala’s Energy Lending Program

Sarala Development and Microfinance is a microfinance institution (MFI) operating in Northeastern India. With the support of the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy–Deployment Technical Assistance (PACE-D TA) Program, Sarala has launched and quickly scaled a clean energy lending program for its microfinance client base. In just under two years, Sarala has helped over 100,000 women access clean energy, improving clients’ quality of life with reliable and clean energy,and reduced dependence on harmful traditional fuels. Read the Case Study (PDF).


Bandhan’s Energy Lending Initiative

Bandhan Konnagar is part of the Bandhan Group, which provides microfinance services to 7.6 million borrowers — almost all women — through 2,022 branches across 24 Indian states. In 2013, Bandhan created an energy program to provide a microfinance facility for high-quality solar devices. Bandhan aims to harness the enormous scale of its existing microfinance business to scale its energy lending activities, and transform millions of lives by making modern energy services accessible to India’s rural poor. Read our Case Study (PDF). ►


DCBS Brings Light to West Bengal

DCBS is a small, community-based and per-urban MFI that operates in more than 200 village communities in West Bengal. It has an active client base of about 12,000 women borrowers. In December 2012, DCBS began promoting a new solar lantern loan product to existing clients which is now expanding to non-clients too. With Arc’s technical assistance, DCBS has continued sales of solar lanterns by financing end-user clients as well as agents, generating local employment and investing in the futures of women and girls. Watch our video. ►


Utkarsh Brings Light to Uttar Pradesh

Over 100 million people in India live in darkness once the sun goes down. With the help of Arc Finance and USAID, Utkarsh is providing financing for poor people to purchase solar lanterns in Uttar Pradesh, radically improving their lives. With Arc’s technical assistance, Utkarsh has continued sales of solar lanterns by financing end-user clients as well as agents, generating local employment and investing in the futures of women and girls. Watch our video. ►


Innovations In Scaling Off-Grid Clean Energy Event, Washington, D.C. 2015

This series of seven videos captures a full-day 2015 workshop entitled “Innovations In Scaling Off-Grid Clean Energy: Business Models to Promote Consumer Financing.” Organized by Arc Finance in conjunction with USAID, the day featured stakeholders from across the sector discussing the latest innovations in scaling off-grid clean energy access to the poor. Watch our video series. ►


Innovations in Financing Event, NYC 2015

This series of four videos captures a full-day 2015 workshop entitled “Innovations in Financing: The Nexus Between Energy, Distribution And Finance.” Organized by Arc Finance in conjunction with USAID, the day featured stakeholders from across the sector discussing the latest innovations in consumer and institutional finance for providing small-scale clean energy access to the poor. Watch our video series. ►


Innovations in Financing Event, NYC 2014

This series of six videos captures a full-day 2014 workshop entitled “Innovations in Financing 2015: Evolving Consumer Finance Business Models.” Organized by Arc Finance in conjunction with USAID, the day featured stakeholders from across the sector discussing the latest innovations in consumer and institutional finance for providing small-scale clean energy access to the poor. Watch our video series. ► 


Crowdfunding in the Energy Access Space

Crowdfunding raises vast sums of untapped capital by aggregating small amounts from the pocketbooks of ordinary people around the globe, typically on a web platform and through social networks. In just a couple of decades, crowdfunding sites have come to occupy an increasingly segmented, specialized and competitive online marketplace of over US$5 billion. In this Briefing Note, read about crowdfunding examples related to the energy access space that are representative of this growing diversity: Indiegogo, Kiva, Milaap and SunFunder. Read our Briefing Note (PDF). ►


Seventh Microfinance Panel: Financing Solutions for Clean Energy in Latin America

Arc Finance Managing Director Niki Armacost discusses Financing Solutions for Clean Energy in Latin America at the Americas Society/Council of the America’s 7th Microfinance Panel in New York City, January 30, 2014. She is joined by panelists Gregory Watson, Head, Strategic Planning and Team Leader, Clean Energy, Multilateral Investment Fund, Inter-American Development Bank; and Amy Wang, Investment Officer, Global Social Investment Funds, Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas. The panel was moderated by Christian Gómez, Jr., Director of Energy, Council of the Americas. Watch the video. ►


Microfinance Summit, Manila 2013

This day-long, pre-event workshop, held in conjunction with the 2013 Microcredit Summit in Manila, was organized by Arc Finance and brought together high-level representatives from MFIs, energy enterprises, government entities and donors to engage MFIs on financing renewable energy. This video series was made possible with generous support from USAID. Watch the video series. ►


Innovations in Financing Event, NYC 2013

Innovations in Financing Small Scale Clean Energy, a full-day workshop organized by Arc Finance in conjunction with USAID and the Sustainable Energy for All Energy Access Practitioner Network, brought together a range of stakeholders to discuss the innovations in financing now being deployed in the small-scale, clean energy space. These sessions were made possible with generous support from USAID. Watch our video series. ►


Milaap Uses Crowdfunding to Catalyze Energy Microfinance

Founded in 2010, Milaap is a Bangalore-based social enterprise that deploys online lending and other innovative funding methods to fill the existing capital gap for microfinance institutions (MFIs) interested in building lending portfolios for energy, water and other essential services. By channeling low-cost, flexible loan capital from an expanding base of both online and offline lenders to a select group of MFI field partners, Milaap is directly impacting the lives of a growing number of poor people throughout rural India. Read our Case Study (PDF). ►


FWWB-I’s Solar Microloan Initiative — Leveraging a Network to Reach India’s Most Isolated Region

In 2009, Friends of Women’s World Banking-India (FWWB-I), an apex microfinance organization, added energy access to its mandate when it collaborated with five partner institutions to launch a solar lantern credit initiative in the conflict-rife state of Manipur. This pioneering effort has helped catalyze the Indian microfinance sector to initiate energy-lending programs. Read our Case Study (PDF). ►


NWTF’s Business Partner Model — Bolstering Both Energy Demand and Supply Through Microfinance

Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF), an MFI based in the Philippines, launched energy operations in 2009. Since then it has continuously modified its approach, experimenting with new methods of engaging its staff and clients to realize its impact objectives. This case study surveys a sample of the key adaptations that the organization has made to increase impact and sales, as well as improve the long-term sustainability of its program. Read our Case Study (PDF). ►


XacBank’s Eco-Banking Department — Improving Air Quality with Credit, Carbon Finance and Smart Subsidies

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia ranks as one of the most polluted urban areas on the planet. In 2009, XacBank, Mongolia’s largest microfinance institution (MFI), made a commitment to address this public health threat head-on. XacBank’s evolving model combines innovative approaches to product development, quality assurance, consumer education, logistics and distribution. XacBank is also among the first MFIs to leverage carbon revenues to help sustain operations. Read our Case Study (PDF). ►


The Buksh Foundation’s Solar Loan Initiative — Sparking a “Clean Energy Movement” in Pakistan

The Buksh Foundation, a Pakistani MFI, takes a unique approach to addressing a critical need that is faced by virtually all of its business clients: lack of access to reliable and affordable electricity. In 2010, the organization began to explore clean energy finance as a solution to this escalating challenge. Today, Buksh Foundation’s solar loan program is taking direct aim at the problem, and has emerged as the fastest growing area of its portfolio. Read our Case Study (PDF). ►


Stima Systems’ Group Microleasing Model — Promoting Payment and Reducing Risk at the Group Level

Kenya-based energy company Stima Systems has developed a distinct approach to service delivery and end-user affordability: the group microlease. Group microleasing leverages the prevalence, structure and internal dynamics of community-based savings groups to mitigate a number of critical risks and barriers that often limit access to clean energy for poor people around the world. Read our Case Study (PDF). ►


Microfinance in Asia: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities

In 2009, Arc was commissioned by the Foundation for Development Cooperation (FDC) to draft an article on the link between microfinance, energy, water and sanitation based on the proceedings of the 2008 Microfinance Forum held in Vietnam. The article was published as chapter 7 of Microfinance in Asia: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities. Read our article (PDF). ►


Making Energy Microfinance Work in the Philippines — a Conversation with Raymond Serios, Special Projects Manager at NWTF

The Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF) is a one of the Philippines’ oldest and largest microfinance institutions, serving nearly 140,000 clients across the nation’s central island region. Among institutional practitioners of energy microfinance, NWTF is notable for its inventive, trial-and-error approach to problem-solving and program development, and its patient, long-term commitment to building a strong, high impact and commercially sustainable model. In this episode, Raymond Serios provides a nuts and bolts account of how the MFI draws on experimentation, client feedback and a close study of the evolving clean energy market to adapt and build its successful energy lending […]


A Vision for Energy Access in Rural Pakistan — a Conversation with Fiza Farhan, CEO of the Buksh Foundation

The Buksh Foundation is a microfinance institution based in Lahore, Pakistan. In 2010, the organization piloted a clean energy loan program to help business clients better cope with Pakistan’s escalating electricity crisis. In this episode, CEO Fiza Farhan discusses the MFI’s vision of expanding energy access, and the diverse activities – including product design –that it engages in to realize it.

http://arcfinance.org/audio/fiza.mp3

Download this Podcast. ►


Group-based Solar Microleasing in Kenya — a Conversation with Konrad App, CEO of Stima Systems

Stima Systems is a Kenya-based energy startup that delivers affordable lighting and charging services to low-income off-grid customers using a distinct payment model: the group microlease. In this conversation Stima CEO Konrad App shares the origins of Stima’s model and provides insights into the power of groups to expand access and support commercial viability. Download this Podcast. ►