recently received support from International Finance Corporation (IFC) to expand its meter-based prepaid energy service, which will provide access to clean and affordable energy to half a million rural Indians over the next three years.Despite, the benefits of solar energy, not only environmentally, but also in its ability to reach off-grid consumers, many rural consumers find it difficult to pay the upfront costs of solar electricity. With the help of IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, Simpa hopes to solve this problem by enabling these consumers and small businesses to access electricity based on their actual usage, with a payment scheme similar to that of a cellular phone service. Rural users can buy a solar system at a small initial cost, and then recharge the system according to their usage needs.
“We sell solar like prepaid mobile phone service,” explained Paul Needham, President and co-founder of Simpa Networks. “In effect, we are replicating the successful prepaid, pay-as-you-go pricing plan, making it easier for everyone to adopt clean energy.”
Simpa’s innovative solutions to solar financing also help private sector companies working to deploy micro-grids and solar home systems. The payment framework allows these companies to better manage the risks of financing clean energy projects, allowing them greater access to finance to help clean energy solutions scale up.
Thomas Davenport, IFC Director for South Asia, commented, “A user-friendly and innovative payment model like this is a big step in making affordable, clean energy a reality for thousands of Indians cut off from the power grid in remote parts of the country.”
In May, 2012, IFC launched their off-grid lighting program, Lighting Asia-India, in partnership with the governments of the United States and Italy. The Indian government also supports this initiative, which seeks to provide clean, safe, affordable, off-grid lighting to rural people and to avoid an estimated 64, 0000 tons of carbon emissions over the next three years.
For more information, visit SimpaNetworks.com
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