We envision a world without energy poverty by 2030: Bijli program update

3 July 2014

NEW DELHI: Jarnail Singh, India Program Manager, The Climate Group, provides an update on our Bijli – Clean Energy for All program, which is principally funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery and aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance the lives of rural inhabitants in India, by deploying renewable energy technologies and improving infrastructure quality.

India is home to the single largest population on the earth without access to electricity. Rough estimates indicate that one in every third person cannot enjoy the benefits that electricity offers. And most of these are in rural areas.

Access to energy, specifically electrical power, is one of the key underlying determinants for developmental activities such as income generation, better health and quality education.

With a mission to catalyze and mobilize global transformative action for achieving universal access to electricity, The Climate Group, with support from Nationale Postcode Lottery, launched its flagship initiative in 2013 called Bijli – Clean Energy for All. Bijli represents a unique combination of grassroots and field-level action coupled with transformative policy and financial research, to mobilize global leadership for transformative action.

india bijlichart

Graph: The critical challenges for uptake of off-grid renewables according to a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency

Access to affordable finance has been identified as one of the most crucial factors for scaling up the off-grid sector in India. So the approach adopted by The Climate Group has been extremely specific toward addressing financial barriers, largely by utilizing the convening capabilities of the organization. Our unique three-step approach to drive leadership for low carbon actions is central to the Bijli initiative:

  1. Develop practical projects: We are developing field-level energy access projects with reputed partners and promising business models in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
  2. Evidence broking: Collecting field data to prove the robustness of identified business models and conducting financial research on a few models to establish a case for large scale replication is key.
  3. Convene leadership: We are also publishing high quality thought leadership reports to influence and convene investors and decision makers to invest and make favorable policies respectively.

While there is a disproportionate emphasis on dissolving financial barriers, The Climate Group recognizes the importance of an ecosystem approach around the complex issue of energy access.

In recognition of this, we have consulted and partnered with a variety of stakeholders, representing energy service companies, funding agencies, governments, investors, think tanks as well as civil society. In the past year, we have been able to engage with 65 such organizations and are also a founding member of the off-grid alliance Clean Energy Access Network (CLEAN). 

india chart bijli

One of the key components of Bijli has also been the practical projects that are being developed on the field in India. A snapshot of the technologies and business models being incubated under Bijli are presented below:



Impact (in numbers)

Level of support


Solar home systems

3,500 (Maharashtra)

Creation of a revolving fund to extend low cost equipment financing for low-income customers in remote locations of Maharashtra.


Portable solar lights

12,500 (West Bengal)

Creation of a working capital revolving fund for micro-entrepreneurs and MFIs (micro-finance institutions) in various locations of West Bengal

Mera Gao Power

Solar DC micro-grid

3,000 (Uttar Pradesh)

Working capital support for equipment purchase


Solar AC micro-grids

500 (Uttar Pradesh)

Working capital support for equipment purchase

OMC Power

Solar charging stations (lanterns)

6,500 (Uttar Pradesh)

Working capital support for equipment purchase

Simpa Networks

Solar home systems (prepaid Meters)

2,500 (Uttar Pradesh)

Working capital support for equipment purchase


Going forward, we envision a world without energy poverty by 2030. Each rural household should have the same level of access to modern energy services as their urban counterparts.

We are also cognizant of the fact that The Climate Group cannot do it alone. In this respect, the call for coordinated action under the UN Sustainable Energy for All framework is reassuring.

We aspire and commit to catalyze the top leadership of the world to get more involved, by advocating for a stronger business case for off-grid energy by virtue of our Bijli initiative.

By Jarnail Singh

Learn more about Bijli - Clean Energy for All

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