According to reports, International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group with $4.6-billion clean energy portfolio, plans to provide safe, clean, and affordable off-grid lighting in India over the next three years.
South Asia accounts for 15 per cent of IFC’s clean energy portfolio. The group has launched new lighting programme – Lighting Asia/India – that would popularise renewable lighting solutions in Indian villages that are not connected by electricity network.
“IFC is taking initiatives to create a sustainable ecosystem to promote adoption of modern and clean lighting solutions in areas without energy access,” said Jeeva Perumalpillai-Essex, Manager, Sustainable Business Advisory, IFC South Asia.
The global organisation has adopted a four-pronged approach to popularise solar off-grid lighting solutions.
First, IFC will work with stakeholders, including manufacturers of solar lighting equipment, to develop quality products and assist with quality assurance standards.
Second, it will collaborate with distributors to penetrate untapped markets and design scalable business models by supporting them through market research.
Third, it will work with financial institutions and small and medium enterprises to increase access to working capital for companies and underserved populations.
And fourth, IFC will work with consumers, by conducting mass education campaigns to generate awareness and demand.
According to IFC, the grid failure in India last year affected nearly 400 million people. But, for another 400 million, this is an everyday reality, as they continue to depend on kerosene, candles, charcoal, and firewood to meet lighting needs.
In line with IFC’s climate change strategy, this programme will avoid an estimated 64,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.
“The Lighting Asia/India programme will serve as a model to address clean energy needs for the most vulnerable in rural India, while promoting local entrepreneurship and sustainable rural development,” said IFC South Asia Director Thomas Davenport.