More from: energy innovation

Closing the Financing Gap: Upcoming Solutions and Challenges for the Rural Poor, October 2017

On Tuesday, October 25, 2017, Bicycles Against Poverty and the Bucknell Alumni Club of DC will host an event in Washington, D.C. centered around social enterprises and financial inclusion, with a focus on Sub Saharan Africa.

Arc’s Managing Director Niki Armacost discusses financial innovations in securing consumer financing for clean energy products and services for energy poor communities around the world.

Register for this event here.

 


ESAF Small Finance Bank: Pioneering a Retail Distribution Network Through Financing Clean Energy, Webinar, October 2017

In India, energy access is a huge challenge; 80 million households have little or no access to grid electricity due to the limits of grid penetration and the geographies in which they live. Providing quality, safe and reliable alternatives to kerosene and other traditional fuels means addressing two main challenges: distribution and affordability.

This webinar is based on the recently published case study on the energy lending program of ESAF Small Finance Bank, one of the seven MFI partners receiving TA from the PACE-D TA Program. The webinar will share the insights and knowledge gained under the Program for a broader audience in India and beyond including MFIs, renewable energy companies, donors and investors.

ESAF began as the Evangelical Social Action Forum, which expanded to include ESAF Microfinance and, in 2017, it became ESAF Small Finance Bank. Working in states where solar penetration across rural and peri-urban markets is growing due to the inconvenience of the inconsistent grid, ESAF is a genuine pioneer in the Indian clean energy finance sector. It has an extraordinarily broad retail offering that ranges from solar home systems and water purifiers to washing machines, offered with a loan model and cross-selling strategy that makes the company as much an asset financer as a microfinance institution.

In this way, ESAF is one of the most important players in the distributed renewable energy sector – an early mover, with its clean energy business operated through the broad ESAF retail distribution network, and now with a Small Finance Bank licence, which means reaching a wider network of new customers.

Please join us on October 25, 2017 to hear about ESAF’s energy finance program, how the PACE-D TA Program has worked to scale it up, the outcomes and lessons learned from this initiative, and ESAF’s future plans.

This webinar is free to all. Register for this webinar here.



Going “All in” on Solar Finance: How IDCOL Incubates a Growing Industry in Bangladesh

IDCOL and Solar Home Systems in Bangladesh

While demand for small-scale renewable energy is virtually infinite, a small microfinance institution or energy enterprise needs capital to meet that demand with supply. The Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) addresses this barrier to scale in a unique and exciting way. With massive infusion of government capital, management from the private sector and a unique asset finance model using creative partnerships, IDCOL has produced a stunningly successful program.

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Arc Finance at the 2013 Ashden Awards: Partnerships and Innovation in Practice

Solving the “last mile” problem – or providing renewable energy and suitable finance for it to the Bottom of the Pyramid – is far more collaborative than competitive. You can see this clearly in the network of partnerships we at Arc Finance have developed for our current portfolio of projects: we link energy companies, MFIs, technology providers, remittance companies and other distribution organizations to facilitate access to finance for renewable energy for the un(der)electrified billions whose lives can be improved.

Collaboration and partnership were among the key themes of the 2013 Ashden Awards held in London last week. We are proud to be a supporting partner of Ashden and were thrilled to attend the awards, which are among the most prestigious for sustainable energy solutions. Projects awarded ranged from partnerships at the local level (UK-based initiatives such as encouraging cycling or recycling in cities, or developing green spaces) to global projects that try to leverage new technologies, financial innovations and the brightest of ideas in order to scale access to affordable renewable energy to those who need it most: the poor. The conference was a great opportunity to share ideas, contacts and build further partnerships. Collaboration might be a tedious and overused bit of management-speak, but in this space, it is the sine qua non of progress.

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How Pre-Payment and Microfinance Can Build “Micro-Power Economies”

INENSUS is a young, off-grid energy company based in Germany that develops solar/wind-hybrid microgrids for developing countries’ remote rural regions. The company’s “Micro-Power Economy” model, currently being employed in Senegal, centers on supporting both income-generating as well as household energy activities to truly catalyze local village economies.

Arc Finance recently caught up with Jakob Schmidt-Reindahl, managing director of INENSUS’ Senegal operations, to discuss the company’s clients, pre-payment approach, and role that microfinance plays in helping to realize the micro-energy economy.

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What Do Solar, Mobile and Microfinance Have in Common? Meet Fenix International.

Fenix International is a Silicon Valley based renewable energy company that designs and manufactures income generating energy solutions for mobile telecoms in emerging markets. The company has developed the ReadySet, a plug-and-play smart battery that charges by solar panels or bicycle dynamo to power mobile phones, lights, and many devices powered by USB or Car Lighter Adapters. The ReadySet is sold by MTN, Africa’s largest mobile phone company, through its network of retail outlets in Uganda. The end customers are micro entrepreneurs who use the ReadySet to make additional income from charging phones in off-grid rural areas.

In a conversation with Arc Finance, Brian Warchawsky (Chief Operating Officer) and Peter Glenn (Business Development and Sales Manager) explain how Fenix combines its core skills to ensure that its products work not only for the customer, but for the whole chain from manufacturing, to distribution and financing.

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Crowd-Sourcing Low Cost Capital Helps MFIs Make the Leap to Energy Lending

Founded in June 2010, Milaap is a Indian start-up based in Bangalore that crowd-sources low-cost capital for microfinance institutions through its online platform as well as social funds, high net worth individuals (HNIs) and corporate partnerships. Funds are not donations, but rather micro-loans between a growing global network of contributors and low-income Indian borrowers. Milaap sources capital exclusively for non-traditional, value-added product portfolios, supporting investments in water and sanitation, vocational training, and SME capital.

In 2011, Milaap added energy lending to its portfolio when it established a partnership with DCBS, a small MFI based in West Bengal (India), and Onergy, a leading solar integrator in the region. Milaap has also made plans to partner with Karnataka-based Grameen Koota, one of India’s largest MFIs, to co-fund its growing energy lending program.

Arc Finance recently caught up with Milaap co-founder Anoj Vishwanathan to discuss the company’s origins, its growing focus on energy, and the core value proposition that it offers its MFI partners in the challenging environment of the post “microfinance crisis.”

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An Inside Perspective on Change and Evolution In the Micro Solar Sector: A Conversation with Ned Tozun, d.light Design

Product R&D and design, high volume manufacturing, global distribution, sales and marketing – this is the range of one of the world’s best known micro solar companies, d.light. Since 2006, the company has been developing and distributing high-quality, solar portable lighting products to low-income, off-grid customers worldwide. Ned Tozun, d.light’s President and Co-Founder, recently took some time to speak with Arc Finance about the company’s growth, its approach to distribution and marketing, and the role he sees for microfinance in making improved energy affordable for d.light’s target customers.

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