How the Rural Poor Are Becoming a Market for Solar Power
Original story at TreeHugger• 6 mentions • 10 months ago
TreeHugger 10 months ago
Sami GroverBusiness / Corporate Responsibility January 30, 2013 I've written before about how solar is a life saver in poor rural communities. Contrary to popular misconceptions in richer nations, however, this is not simply about charity.The rural poor in Africa, Asia and other parts of the world are a rapidly emerging market for clean energy technologies.This fact is reflected in micro-enterprise focused solar initiatives like Sunny Money, where instead of simply throwing money and technological assistance at communities, as might have been the model twenty years ago, charities are instead funding and incubating small local businesses that sell solar solutions to rural communities at affordable rates.But it's not just micro-entrepreneurs who are benefitting. Several for-profit enterprises are realizing the potential of emerging markets for clean energy -- developing products specifically designed for use by consumers in these communities. For example,d.light solar, is a for-profit social enterprise selling solar lamps and charging solutions to consumers without access to reliable power:We design, manufacture and distribute solar light and power products throughout the developing world. We aim to transform the lives of at least 100 million people by 2020. d.light serves over 40 countries, through over 6,000 retail outlets, 10 field offices, and four regional hubs. The company employs over 200 people directly, and indirectly employs hundreds more worldwide.