Bijli - Clean energy for all
The Climate Group’s Access to Rural Energy in India programme, Bijli - Clean Energy for All, which is principally funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery, aims to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and simultaneously enhance the lives of rural villagers in India.
Clean energy, particularly solar and wind, could revitalize India’s failing energy system. 40% of India is still not connected to the grid – a number we could eventually connect via renewable sources.
In addition to providing access to suitable renewable energy for 50,000 people, this project aims to identify sustainable off-grid renewable energy business models, address the challenges of scaling up clean energy solutions to benefit large numbers of people by developing viable financial mechanisms, and also help Indian businesses and communities to help lead and benefit from the emerging global low carbon economy.
The Climate Group is delivering this program by working with local delivery partners across three different off-grid electrification models (hand-held lights, home-lighting systems and micro-grids) in the states of Maharashtra, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, India. If you’d like to be part of our work or interested in learning more about this program, please contact: Subaskar Sitsabeshan, Project Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch our 3-minute Bijli video:
The Climate Group, in collaboration with the World Bank Institute and the Dutch Postcode Lottery, announced winners of the Off-Grid Energy Challenge. Find out more here
Dutch Postcode Lottery
The Dutch Postcode Lottery is the principal funder for the Bijli – Clean Energy for All project, donating US$3.5 million.
The Dutch Postcode Lottery was founded in 1989 to support charitable causes. Today, 2.5 million people in the Netherlands play every year, vying for hundreds of thousands of prizes each month. As they play, they’re supporting charitable causes: half the price of each ticket is distributed among 85 charitable organizations.
Since the Postcode Lottery's founding, it has donated more than €4 billion (~US$5.5 billion) to organizations working on behalf of humanity and the natural environment. The numerous organizations receiving support annually include UNICEF, WWF, Amnesty International, The Climate Group, The Clinton Foundation and Human Rights Watch.
Since 2005, the Postcode Lottery has also been operating in the United Kingdom and Sweden, where the People’s Postcode Lottery and Svenska PostkodLotteriet respectively raise funds for good causes. In the Netherlands, the Dutch Postcode Lottery works with the BankGiro Loterij and VriendenLoterij under the Goede Doelen Loterijen umbrella. All charity lotteries are operated by Novamedia, the second-largest private charity donor in the world.
SwitchON (Environment Conservation Society)
SwitchON is a grass-roots non-profit organization that began in 2008 to create an ecosystem that facilitates last mile access to energy and promotes livelihoods through rural energy entrepreneurship by training, building capacity, and supporting innovation. SwitchON’s solar projects primarily serve off-grid urban and rural areas of East India to include West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Orissa. SwitchON has trained over 800 people in the above states and has a presence in over 1,000 villages of East India.
In addition to providing access to renewable energy technologies, SwitchON trains both entrepreneurs in business development and sales, and solar technicians in maintenance and product servicing. SwitchON’s innovation incubator pilots new business models and innovative technologies to determine sustainable solutions of energy access for India’s ‘bottom of the pyramid’. It is a registered not-for-profit Society, certified under Indian FCRA and 80G of the Indian Income Tax Act, 1961. It has a successful track record of implementing projects with many organizations including GIZ, Halloran Philantorphy, ETC foundation, WWF India and Times of India.
The Climate Group is supporting SwitchON under the Bijli – Clean Energy for All initiative to reach out to 2,500 rural families with a low cost line of credit, to enable them to purchase affordable and ultra-reliable portable solar lights. This would involve identifying rural entrepreneurs, offering credit facilities to purchase solar products, providing technical and business training, building community awareness, and managing the revolving corpus fund.
ONergy (Punam Energy Pvt. Ltd.)
ONergy (Punam Energy Pvt. Ltd.) is a leading renewable energy social enterprise providing decentralized energy solutions to rural households and institutions. The company started in 2009 to address last mile distribution and servicing needs identified by their partner organization, SwitchON.
ONergy provides reliable and affordable clean energy solutions across lighting, cooking, and electrification. To date, ONergy has provided solar solutions to over 25,000 households. ONergy aims to empower its customer by providing a complete package of products, after-sales services, and access to consumer financing. ONergy operates through ten renewable energy Centers (RECs) located throughout West Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa, which allow ONergy extensive reach into rural areas of East India.
For Bijli – Clean Energy for All, ONergy will be providing the required technology support through approved solar products with mobile charging capability to SwitchON. ONergy would also extend its wide network of distribution channels already created through their REC model to SwitchON.
The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge
The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is the largest annual worldwide competition for sustainable entrepreneurs who can instigate change. The challenge is looking for products or services that combine sustainability, entrepreneurship and creativity.
This year the Dutch Postcode Lottery organizes the eighth edition of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge. The competition aims to seek out a product or service that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is capable of being brought to market within two years. The winner receives €500,000 (~US$690,000) to carry out his or her plan. An additional €200,000 (~US$280,000) will be awarded to one or two runners-up.
People from all over the world can submit their sustainable business plan from March 10 until June 3 2014 via GreenChallenge.info. An expert preliminary jury will select five to eight finalists. The finalists will present their plans to an international jury of experts and an audience in Amsterdam in September 2014. The jury will then announce the winner of the grand prize and one or two other promising entries.
Bhagini Nivedita Gramin Vigyan Niketan (BNGVN) works to empower villages to have the capacity to provide a means to livelihood and a self-sustaining ecosystem. BNGVN empowers villages by providing opportunities for people to live with dignity.
Their activities include providing microfinance and logistical support to farmers and village entrepreneurs at reasonable terms of repayment, organizing women into Self Help Groups to encourage savings andimpart skills for alternate livelihoods, creating a village fund to drive community activities, and allowing villagers to borrow from and build sanitation systems.
With the support from The Climate Group, BNGVN is providing the grassroots anchorage for reaching out to 700 households in rural and remote off-grid communities of Nandurbar district along with Selco and Small Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Fund.
SELCO Solar Pvt. Ltd, a social enterprise established in 1995, provides sustainable energy solutions and services to under-served households and businesses. SELCO aims to empower its customer by providing a complete package of product, service and consumer financing through grameena banks, cooperative societies, commercial banks and micro-finance institutions.
SELCO currently employs about 295 people in Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar and Tamil Nadu, spread across 40 energy service centers. Since 1995, Selco has sold, serviced and financed over 1,50,000 solar systems.
With support from The Climate Group, Selco will be providing Technology Support for reaching out to 700 households in rural and remote off-grid communities of Nandurbar district along with BNGVN and Small Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Fund.
The Small Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Fund (S3IDF) reduces poverty in developing countries by supporting small-scale enterprises that meet basic infrastructure needs and provide opportunities for economic advancement. S3IDF uses its Social Merchant Bank Approach to provide entrepreneurs with three bundled services: leveraged co-financing, technology access and knowledge, and business development support. Philanthropic and development capital are leveraged to mitigate risks and encourage local financial institutions to lend to the traditionally un-bankable.
By tailoring the approach to local conditions and markets, S3IDF enables the poor access to employment, asset-creation and ownership opportunities, and basic services. Our diverse project portfolio includes solar, biomass and biogas, water and other technologies for small-scale industries.
With the support from The Climate Group, S3IDF will be providing low cost financial capital to at least 700 households in rural and remote off-grid communities of Nandurbar district, along with BNGVN and Selco.
Dr. S. P. Gon Chaudhuri
Dr. S. P. Gon Chaudhuri is an Electrical Engineer and an expert in the area of renewable energy; he has a working experience of 27 years in the field. He is a specialist in the area of photovoltaic system engineering and design and has executed a large number of solar PV projects in different parts of India and abroad. The off-grid PV system with mini grid concept he developed received world-wide recognition. He also introduced solar lantern and remote solar PV based communication in India, and designed the first solar housing complex in India.
He traveled extensively in different countries of the world as a Member of the Indian Delegation and Expert of United Nations. At present he is the Member of the Tripura State Planning Board, India and Chairman of the Renewable Energy College, Kolkata, and Ashden India Renewable Energy Collective.
Dr. Chaudhuri is an Adjunct Professor of Bengal Science and Engineering University, Kolkata. He has received many national and international awards for his outstanding contribution in the area of renewable energy. He has published more than fifty papers in the sector with special reference to solar PV applications in remote rural areas. He has also written four important books on Solar Energy Application, Climate and Energy Conservation.
Prof. Gerry George
Professor Gerry George is Deputy Dean of the Business School and Director of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre at Imperial College London. The Centre facilitates Imperial College's strategic commitments in India for joint research initiatives and educational programs in innovation and entrepreneurship. Professor George also serves as the Editor of the Academy of Management Journal, the flagship empirical journal in the field of management.
An award-winning researcher and teacher, Professor George has published several articles in leading scholarly journals. He was awarded a prestigious Professorial Fellowship (2011-14) from the UK's Economic and Social Research Council to work on resource-constrained or inclusive innovation. His work investigates business models, organizational design and its implications for innovation and entrepreneurship in multiple settings. He is co-investigator in a five-year Energy for Development collaborative project with the University of Southampton that studies the effects of rural electrification, community development and social enterprise. As an Advanced Institute of Management Innovation Fellow (200709), he studied technology commercialization, entrepreneurship and growth of young firms.
He serves as a non-executive director and chairs the Risk Management Committee of India Infrastructure Financing Corporation (UK) Limited (IIF), a Government of India enterprise subsidiary in the UK. IIF (UK) provides dollar denominated financing for capital equipment in large Indian infrastructure projects such as power generation, urban mass transit, and ports among others. Before joining Imperial, he held tenured positions at the London Business School, where he served as Faculty Director of the Institute of Technology, and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he directed the Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship Program. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Dr. Kirit S. Parikh
Chairman, Integrated Research and Action for Development, New Delhi; Chairman, Expert Group for Low Carbon Strategy for Inclusive Growth, Planning Commission of India. Former Member, Planning Commission.
Dr Kirit S. Parikh has a Doctor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master's Degree in Economics from MIT, USA. He has been a Professor of Economics since 1967. Widely recognized as architect of India’s Integrated Energy Policy, he was a Member of the Economic Advisory Council of five Prime Ministers of India, Atal Behari Vajpayee, P.V. Narasimha Rao, Chandra Shekhar, V.P.Singh and Rajiv Gandhi. Honored with Padma Bhushan by the President of India in March 2009, he is also a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, India and honorary life member of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (on an average given to two persons a year in the world).
He was honored as the most distinguished and illustrious alumni of the decade from India by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA in September, 2007, and was conferred the Distinguished Alumnus Award by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur in September, 2007. In 1978 he was given the “Vikram Sarabhai Award” for Systems Analysis and Management. In 1999, he was given the "Visveswaraya Award" by the Engineers' Foundation in Kolhapur. He is also a recipient of the “Nayudamma Award” for contribution to the welfare of mankind through developments in the fields of Economics and Energy in February 2005.
He was Founder Director (Vice Chancellor), Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai – An Advanced Research Institute from 1986 till 2000. In 1997-98, on sabbatical leave from the IGIDR, he was Special Economic Adviser to the Administrator, United Nations Development Programme, New York. From 1980-86, he was Program Leader of the Food and Agricultural Program of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria. From 1960-80, he was Professor of Economics (and sometimes Head) of the Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi.
Dr Parikh has authored, co-authored and edited 29 books in the areas of development planning and policy concerning planning, agricultural development, poverty, energy, environment, water resource management, trade and general equilibrium modeling. He has also published numerous articles.
Jeffrey was born and raised in Michigan, US. After receiving his college degree (Bachelor of Arts) he decided to move to the Netherlands permanently, where both his parents are from, and to study in Amsterdam for his Master’s Degree. He subsequently worked at the European Parliament (Brussels and Strasbourg) and then the Dutch Parliament (The Hague) as a policy advisor.
He joined DOEN Foundation in 2005, the main fund of the three private charity lotteries in the Netherlands (such as the Dutch Postcode Lottery). At DOEN he is responsible for establishing investment priorities and allocating funding, particularly in the field of climate change and energy, and DOEN’s most recent program: “designing a new economy”. This particular investment program includes support to organizations such as The Cradle to Cradle Institute (San Francisco) and The Biomimicry 3.8 Institute (Missoula). Jeffrey is still active in politics as a City Council Member (Amsterdam).
News and events
- The Climate Group partners with SELCO India to provide clean energy solutions for rural communities in Maharashtra, India
- The Climate Group, World Bank Institute and Dutch Postcode Lottery launch off-grid energy competition in India
- Experts discuss ways to approach off-grid clean energy electrification in rural India and beyond
- As India revives US$8.7 billion clean energy grid upgrade, off-grid projects also on rise
- The Climate Group joins Asian Development Bank’s Energy for All partnership to bring renewables to 33,000 offgrid villages in India
- Winners for off-grid energy competition announced
- Event June 4 2014: Innovation Game Changers: Off-grid electrification
- We envision a world without energy poverty by 2030: Bijli program update
- New video of Bijli - Clean energy for all premiered at Climate Week NYC