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GSR 2015

111 05 RENEWABLES 2015 GLOBAL STATUS REPORT Under pay-as-you-go (PAYG) schemes, customers typically provide a small upfront fee for a solar charger kit, a portable system, and a control unit that can be used for powering LED lights and charging devices such as mobile phones. They then pay for the energy they need, either in advance or on a regular basis depending on consumption. Such micro-payment schemes have become one of the most popular categories of business models.102 They are especially effective for solar technologies such as solar-powered charger kits because price levels and schedules are set to match customers’ variable cash flows and their energy consumption patterns. One PAYG model operating in Africa had 30,000 solar PV units in the distribution channel as of 2014, and 15,000 units had been installed in customers’ homes by year’s end.103 Kenya is already using PAYG for SHS on a large scale, and India announced the launching of similar PAYG schemes for solar lamps.104 One-stop-shop models are also expanding in use. Under this model, a single organisation both sells the renewable energy homesystemsandprovidesloanstopayforthem(inessence,the company acts as supplier and micro-financier). This is common in Bangladesh, where one organisation sells SHS with a 15% down-payment and provides customers with three-year loans at 6%, after-sale services, and long-term product warranties. It also provides technical training across rural Bangladesh and trains entrepreneurs, particularly women, to become owners of their own renewable energy businesses.105 (p See Sidebar 9.) Green is a small enterprise initiated by elderly women living in rural South Africa who form savings clubs to enable them to gain access to solar lighting and electricity. Community schemes, such as a micro-hydro scheme in the Western Solomons, often give responsibility for financial control to women, as they consider women to be more reliable than men at managing money. In Bangladesh’s remote island community of Char Montaz, 40 women have a co-operative in which they assemble and sell solar home kits, and they employ 15 additional people in remote satellite offices. The success of the business model can be seen by its spread to neighbouring islands. The policy environment is also important for supporting women’s involvement in the renewable energy supply chain, as entrepreneurs as well as users. For example, Uganda’s Renewable Energy Policy has special strategies, including promoting micro-finance, to ensure that women are able to benefit from renewable energy technologies in their household tasks. India’s national biofuels programme mentions specifically the role of women in cultivation of biodiesel crops. As a result, women in the Hassan district in Karnataka are able to grow the crops in their backyards, which fits well with carrying out their household tasks and earns them much-needed and welcome income. Recognising the achievements of women through award schemes such as the SEED and Ashden awards can inspire women to get involved in renewable energy-related businesses. However, women need encouragement to apply for awards. The Tanzanian Rural Energy Agency (REA) realised that most organisations and institutions that apply to win the Lighting Rural Tanzania Competition (LRTC) are led by men, even though there are women-led companies that are potential winners; therefore, they now announce the competition with gender-neutral language to encourage women to apply. An additional benefit for women entrepreneurs from the Ashden Awards is that winners in India have established the Ashden India Renewable Energy Collective for small-scale sustainable energy organisations to promote renewable energy solutions. Women play a leading role in the collective, and doing so gives women a stronger voice in influencing government policy. Source: See Endnote 105 for this section.

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