Arc Projects: Solar Lanterns

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.

Access to Sustainable Energy Technologies Using Remittances as a Source of End-User Finance

Arc tested an innovative and untraditional remittance transfer model identified during market research conducted by Arc in 2009 as being attractive to both remitters and receivers. The goal of the project was to radically increase the availability and number of sustainable energy products for Haitian consumers, using remittances as the financing source.

Financing Sustainable Energy through Remittances Flows

Arc conducted market research for a project, led by Gaia Consulting Oy, designed to test remittances as a means to finance energy efficiency products and technologies in Bolivia. The overall goal of the project was to reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions, improve resilience of low-income households to climate impacts on the energy sector, to reduce the cost for energy in urban and rural low-income households, and to raise awareness about cleaner and less energy intensive energy sources.

Arc Knowledge Products: Solar Lanterns

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 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 Country Fact Sheet: Haiti

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. In Haiti, REMMP is working with Sogexpress, a leading Haitian money transfer organizations, to strengthen and scale sales of clean energy products through its agent network in Haiti as well as through its international remittances platform. Read our Fact Sheet (PDF).►

Arc Finance Country Fact Sheet: Kenya

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. In Kenya, REMMP is working with the e-commerce platform MamaMikes to demonstrate the commercial viability of financing clean energy products through online remittances. Read our Fact Sheet (PDF).►

Rebuilding Her Home, One Solar Sale At a Time: Nancy’s Story

Arc Finance is committed to sharing the impact of its programs in terms of increased availability of consumer financing for clean energy products and services. This Impact Story profiles the experiences of a Sogexpress client as she navigates life in rural Haiti. Read our Impact Story (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). ►

Bringing Light to Bihar: The Power of Women Entrepreneurs

Over 100 million people in India live in darkness once the sun goes down. With the help of Arc Finance and USAID, BASIX is providing trade financing to women in rural Bihar, India. Solar entrepreneurship enables these women to access affordable and reliable clean energy and increase their livelihoods. With Arc’s technical assistance, BASIX has launched Vayam Renewable, which markets, sells and finances energy products for low-income consumers in rural communities and trains and supports a network of village-based solar retailer-technicians. Watch our video. ►

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. ►

Improving Access to Electricity in Haiti through Solar Energy and Diaspora Engagement

This fact sheet provides an overview of Arc’s Finance’s partner Sogexpress’ new initiative, Klere Ayiti, which seeks to address energy poverty in Haiti. Klere Ayiti, a collaboration of Sogexpress with Western Union, has created a new online platform to enable the Haitian diaspora to use remittances to finance renewable energy products for relatives in Haiti. View our Fact Sheet (PDF). ►

Financing Sustainable Energy Through Remittance Flows in Haiti and the Dominican Republic

2009 Arc Finance / BASE Arc Finance, BASE, and the Mexican market research firm Mercaei collaborated on a research project to assess the feasibility of using remittances to finance renewable energy products. Through market research with Haitian and Dominican immigrants in the New York area, the project team identified a number of promising business models for financing and distributing sustainable energy products, developed a strong network of distribution partners, and built a comprehensive understanding of the energy sector in Haiti. This report, commissioned by the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank, summarizes the findings. Read our report (PDF). ►

Pay-As-You-Go Technologies in Consumer Energy Finance

Many poor consumers can’t afford to pay for alternatives to expensive, low-quality energy sources, such as kerosene, candles and batteries, because of the up-front costs of solar systems and clean cookstoves. Pay-As-You-Go models (PAYG) allow customers to pay for energy services over time, spreading the cost of a unit over several months. In this Briefing Note, read about six innovative models and technologies from Azuri Technologies, Angaza Design, Lumeter Networks, M-KOPA, Fenix International and SIMPA Networks, and the many beneficial impacts of their work. Read our Briefing Note (PDF). ►

Financing Small-Scale Clean Energy Using Remittances

With assistance from Arc, Sogexpress, a Money Transfer Organization, has tapped into the multi-billion-dollar remittance stream from the Haitian diaspora to supply small-scale clean energy solutions to Haitians lacking energy services. In this Briefing Note, read a synopsis of Sogexpress’ pioneering remittances model, which is successfully supplying solar products to those who need them most. Read our Briefing Note (PDF). ►

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). ►

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). ►

Using Remittances to Finance Clean Energy: Inspiring the Haitian Diaspora to Combat Climate Change

Haiti has one of the lowest electricity access rates in the world, with only 12.5% of its population legally connected to the grid. Remittances offer a new solution for helping to finance the purchase and distribution of energy devices. Given its energy needs, and the size and location of its diaspora-based population, Haiti was an ideal country to test a remittances-backed business model for clean energy. The model uses remittance flows to facilitate the purchase and distribution of small-scale renewable energy devices, thereby fostering the use of clean and efficient energy technology among the energy-poor. Read our Case […]

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). ►

Solar Sister’s Energy Consignment Model — Women Micro-Retailers Drive Solar Product Adoption in East Africa

Founded in 2010, Solar Sister brings affordable solar lamps and small solar systems to communities in East Africa. Using an Avon-style distribution system, Solar Sister creates vital access to clean energy technology by building and extending the supply chain through women’s rural networks. 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). ►

End-User Finance: A Guide for Sustainable Energy Enterprises and NGOs

2009 Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy The purpose of this guide, which is geared at energy enterprises, is to introduce the concept of end-user finance, to summarize key issues involved in providing finance for the purchase of sustainable energy products and services, and to provide recommendations on how to develop an end-user finance strategy. The target audience for this publication is energy enterprises. Read our Guide (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.

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. ►