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
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
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
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
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.