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A recent story published on GreenBiz describes how an innovative project in India, with the support of Microsoft, has taken a unique approach to delivering energy access through solar energy solutions for low income households.
Despite the current solar power revolution, access for those who could arguably benefit most – low income families in developing countries with little or no access to energy - remains a huge financial challenge. In India, an innovative carbon finance-supported project is overcoming the financial barriers for those with limited cash, to deliver tailored solar energy solutions to low income households, community groups, micro businesses and schools, with encouraging results.
"Solar Energy Access is about carbon finance being used to build sustainable development, not charity for the poor," Harish Hande, founder of SELCO said in a recent interview. "We see these individuals as partners, not beneficiaries. We use carbon finance from Microsoft to put in the guarantees with financial institutions to make banks more comfortable in lending money to them. When we take the guarantee off, they become regular customers of the bank."
Made possible through the support of corporates such as Microsoft, carbon finance enables SELCO to scale, delivering multiple benefits to underserved communities. Empowered with a reliable source of energy, households can save money on fuel and spend more time on income-generating activities outside daylight hours, facilitating an essential step towards moving out of poverty.