Arc’s learning platform includes publications, blogs, podcasts, and videos, and highlights various innovative approaches being advanced by microfinance institutions, private companies, investors and other entities globally that are making renewable energy and clean water accessible to low-income households and businesses.
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) ►
In-house asset finance provides customers with a pay plan that allows them to purchase a product on an installment basis. The benefits of providing in-house credit are compelling, but it is a complex and challenging undertaking. In this Briefing Note, read a synopsis of how four energy companies – SolarNow, Simpa Networks, Grameen Shakti and M-Kopa – have successfully developed an in-house asset finance capacity. Read our Briefing Note (PDF) ►
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) ►
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) ►
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.
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.
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.
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) ►
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 Study (PDF) ►
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) ►
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) ►
UpEnergy is a San Francisco-based social enterprise that is a leader in the use of carbon credits in developing markets. It finances, builds, and supports distribution channels for products such as high efficiency cookstoves, water purification technologies, and solar lights using carbon credit mechanisms. In Uganda, UpEnergy has focused on cookstoves since launching in October 2011. Read our Case Study (PDF) ►
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) ►
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) ►
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) ►
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) ►
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) ►
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. The project team conducted market research with Haitian and Dominican immigrants in the New York area to understand and assess their interest in tying a portion of their remittances to an energy loan or savings product in the receiving country. The Dominican Republic and Haiti made excellent “laboratory” sites for this research because of similarities in immigrant populations, high remittance volumes, and geographical proximity. Their differences — in economic development and electrification rates — provided additional variables for comparison. 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) ►
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) ►
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 program.
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.
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.