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SELCO Solar Energy Access, India

Granting energy access to 945,140 households in India through solar lighting and renewable energy

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Project overview

  • Region: Asia

  • Project type: Household devices, Renewable energy

  • Standards: VCS

In India, rural, low income populations continue to be underserved by access to renewable energy, despite its growth at the national level. A report published by the International Energy Agency in February 2021 states "There’s a tremendous opportunity for India to successfully meet the aspirations of its citizens without following the high-carbon pathway that other economies have pursued in the past." The aim of the SELCO Solar Energy Access project - a joint initiative with SELCO Solar Pvt (SELCO) and Natural Capital Partners – is to enhance energy access, primarily for bottom-of-the-pyramid households, by distributing an array of solar products including solar lighting, solar water heating, and solar PV. With the support of carbon finance, the project aims to empower users by providing a complete solution package; including products, servicing and financing.

Sustainable Development Goals

In addition to delivering emissions reductions to take climate action (SDG 13), the project delivers a number of other benefits including:

  • Affordable and Clean Energy: By working with regional rural banks and microfinance institutions, the project supports the most disadvantaged households to obtain agreeable finance terms.
  • Quality Education: The project’s “Light for Education” programme involves distributing solar lamps to students to facilitate evening study at home. In its first year, the project supported 65 schools and distributed 2,666 lamps.
  • Gender Equality: Women’s groups market and distribute the products.
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth: With a reliable source of energy, rural low income households can spend more time on income generating activities. Even a few extra hours of light can improve earnings by 20-30%.

Carbon finance has enabled us to implement extremely innovative projects that have benefited communities in measurable ways that so perfectly link poverty alleviation and sustainable energy, and reach more economically backward communities who would not have access to sustainable energy otherwise.

Haresh Hande, SELCO Founder

Carbon finance plays a key role in subsidising upfront technology costs and annual service fees for those at the bottom of the pyramid.

In year one, the project distributed 18,222 solar lights, 1,452 solar water heating systems, and 207 PV systems.

Vinod Bagilovayl’s Story

Vinod Bagilovayl is a bike garage owner in North Karnataka. Without electricity, his working hours were limited, meaning he had to refuse some customers. Since owning a solar lamp, he has seen a 50% increase in income from being able to work an extra few hours each day.

The project aims to improve energy access for at least 20,000 households each year.