New Delhi, India, November 26, 2012—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is advising local technology start-up Simpa Networks to expand a meter-based prepaid energy service using an innovative pricing system to provide half-a-million rural Indians access to affordable and clean energy over the next three years.
Rural consumers with low and uncertain incomes find it difficult to pay the upfront cost of a solar energy system. With IFC’s support, Simpa Networks is working towards enabling consumers and small businesses to access and pay for electricity based on actual use the same way they pay for cellular services using a mobile phone. Once a user has bought a solar system for a small initial cost, he can recharge it according to his usage need.
“We sell solar like prepaid mobile phone service,” said 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 solutions also help private sector companies deploying solar micro-grids and solar home systems. They are able to manage the risks of financing clean energy projects better, giving them greater access to finance to support scale-up of clean energy solutions.
Thomas Davenport, IFC Director for South Asia, said, “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.”
Lighting Asia-India, IFC’s off-grid lighting program was launched in New Delhi in May 2012. It is being rolled out in partnership with the governments of the United States and Italy. The Indian government supports this initiative to provide safe, clean and affordable off-grid lighting to two million people living in rural India over the next three years and avoid an estimated 64,000 tons of carbon emissions.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.