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Energy

2014 India Development Marketplace Finalist Story: Selco - Providing those in slums access to productive lives; one solar battery at a time.

Cristina Navarrete Moreno's picture

One year ago, Kumar began renting out 40 Selco solar-powered batteries to the people living in his slum community in the heart of Bangalore. Prior to this, 400 families were left to rely on cheap, easily breakable lights, dangerous and flammable kerosene lamps, or simple darkness. Without affordable energy, the inhabitants of Kumar’s slum lose hours of otherwise productive time that would allow them to build a pathway out of the slum, and into a secure life. Within months, demand for Selco’s rechargeable batteries sky-rocketed and Kumar increased his inventory to 86. Now, he is requesting yet another 50.

Former DM Grantee D.Light Wins Prize!

Dougg Jimenez's picture

d.light logo - photo credit: www.zayedfutureenergyprize.comD.Light design, a Development Marketplace (DM) grantee (through the Lighting Africa Program in 2008), was chosen as the recipient of the prestigious Zayed Future Energy Prize, the world’s largest annual award in the renewable energy and sustainability sector.

"We are very honored to win the Zayed Future Energy Prize," said d.light Chairman and CEO Donn Tice. "d.light represents an essential part of the future of energy: small-scale, distributed energy solutions at the community, household and individual level. Winning this prize will enable us to transform millions more lives that we would not otherwise reach as quickly. This is not just a win for d.light, but for everyone without access to reliable grid power.

Electricity Simplified via Simpa Networks

Parvathi Menon's picture

This article was originally published on http://www.innovationalchemy.com/. Simpa Network has partned with SELCO, an India DM winner in 2011.

Simpa Networks has evolved a ‘Progressive Purchase‘ model for solar electricity, lighting up rural homes through a flexible payment option.  

The International Energy Agency estimates that about 1.5 billion people around the globe do NOT have access to electricity and 85% of these people live in rural areas.  In India, close to 40% of the country’s population still lives with limited access to grid electricity. This is not to say that rural India is in complete darkness. The up-front cost of procuring clean, affordable energy is high and so several parts of rural India rely on kerosene, charcoal and other forms of fuel that are easier to access and in local purchase terms, cheaper. The existence of these alternatives indicates that people have the ability to pay for energy, but it needs to be in a format and amount that they can access. Regular energy sources have not been able to find ways to fit this need yet. Simpa Networks leverages this insight into the rural market to find a way to fit within the ‘ability to pay’.

Customers pay up to $1000 over 8-10 years for kerosene lanterns why not capture what the customer is willing to pay and give them a cleaner alternative?”says co-founder Michael Macharg.

Based in Bangalore, Simpa Networks aims to develop affordable energy solutions for the poor. Their product makes solar electricity accessible and affordable to the rural and under served consumer through their innovative pricing system called ‘Progressive Purchase’.


Solar Bottle Lights: Transforming Plastic Bottle Waste to Light Bulbs

Myra Valenzuela's picture

Source of photo: http://isanglitrongliwanag.org/gallery/the-spark-that-will-light-a-million/It’s surprising how simple the design of a solar bottle light is – take an empty plastic bottle, fill it with mineral water and a few drops of bleach, and cement it halfway through a small metal roof sheet (the kind used as roofs in Manila’s slum areas). Then cut out a small piece of the actual roof, place the sheet with the bottle on top of the hole, cement any cracks, and voilà! Let there be light.

This initiative, a project designed and developed by students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and implemented by MyShelter Foundation, is already transforming lives of low-income people in the Philippines.

Solar Sister: Bringing a market based, gender inclusive, bottom up clean energy revolution to Africa

Neha Misra's picture

Solar Sister LogoAlmost 1.6 billion people on the planet don’t have access to electricity. And 70% of these are women and girls for whom the darkness is quite literal. Today, even though portable solar LED lighting technology is an affordable solution; lack of innovation in distribution channels has kept the products from being available in the rural markets where traditional supply chains simply do not exist.

The challenge is to marry technology innovation with a delivery system that is efficient, sustainable and scalable. Solar Sister is an innovative social enterprise addressing this weakest link through a market-based, gender inclusive, bottom-up solution to bring a new kind of clean energy revolution in Africa.

With an Avon-style women-driven business model, Solar Sister addresses both geographical access - making clean energy products available at the rural customer's doorstep; and cultural access - closing the gender-technology gap by including women as key players in the provision of technology solutions instead of as passive consumers of energy.

The World Challenge is Back!

Dougg Jimenez's picture

2 Weeks left to nominate and win US$20,000!

 

The World Challenge LogoFor the 7th consecutive year the World Challenge is searching for grassroots community projects that promote sustainable development through innovation and original thinking. Their mission is simple: to reward small businesses which have found solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems.

If you have what it takes, they would like to hear from you. Please check their website and fill in an application form. You have until the 19th of June, at midnight. Their judging panel will select the best 12 entries to be filmed by BBC World News and featured in a special ad series in Newsweek magazine.

Development Marketplace was Early Investor: Small Scale Renewable Power

Edith Wilson's picture

Great New York Times story going viral today on how villagers around the world are finally getting electricity in their homes with solar devices.  With this tiny bit of power, they can charge cell phones, get news, study at night, check market information for crops, and stop using carbon and so much more.  This is one area where in the past 10 years, Development Marketplace competitions identified and funded early stage projects, so we should all be proud.

This project really is “for the birds” - Development Marketplace projects protects the Giant Ibis

Kirsten Spainhower's picture

Paying small farmers more, protecting fragile habitat and safeguarding spectacular wildlife, now there’s a win-win!

Encroaching agricultural land is a perennial challenge for the protection of national parks around the world. In Cambodia, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) developed an innovative approach to conservation by promoting wildlife friendly farming techniques. The project area is home to important habitat for birds and mammals, including Giant Ibis, White-shouldered Ibis, Bengal Florican, and three Critically Endangered vulture species, Asian Elephants, Tigers and wild cattle.

The iPod for Development

Kirsten Spainhower's picture

Photo Courtesy of Lifeline EnergyThe Lifeplayer is being billed as the new iPod for development. Kristine Pearson Lifeline Energy CEO, believes that this device will enable rural populations to leap across the digital divide and access vital information in ways they could hardly have imagined.

 

The Lifeplayer is an oversized MP3 device that can be pre-loaded to hold 64GB of educational content. It can also download audio content from the internet or record live voice or radio programs for playback later. With a wireless solar panel and a hand-wound crank, the Lifeplayer can even be used to charge mobile phones.

2010 SEED Awards Reach Out to Social Entrepreneurs

Tom Grubisich's picture

"Green"-themed social entrepreneurs are invited to compete for 35 SEED Awards that are focused on seven countries in Africa.  Winners will receive expert advice on their business plans, access to tailored workshops, and be profiled through the SEED Initiative's international network.

Start-up social and environmental entrepreneurs working in developing and emerging countries are invited to apply.  The deadline for applications is Aug. 16.  Here's how to apply

(Photo at right shows precious metals miner in Chocó Bioregion of Ecuador and Colombia where 2009 SEED winner Oro Verde is helping to reverse environmental degradation by promoting certified mining practices.)

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