Pay-as-you-go solar energy access to be expanded in rural India


Bengaluru, India and Manila, Philippines — (METERING.COM) — March 27, 2013 – Pay-as-you-go (or prepay) solar energy access is a new concept finding favor in rural India and by 2015 more than 60,000 households are expected to have better access to electricity as the availability of the technology is scaled up, with support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The prepaid platform, including a “progressive purchase” pricing model, has been developed by the Bengaluru-based Simpa Networks. ADB has signed a $2 million equity investment with the company.

Consumers make a small initial down payment to Simpa for a solar home system and then prepay for their energy service, topping up their systems in small user-defined increments using a mobile phone. Each payment also adds towards the final purchase price. Once fully paid, the system unlocks permanently and continues to produce electricity.

The technology is also offered to solar microgrid developers as a flexible prepaid metering, customer, and revenue management solution.

“The success of this entrepreneurial venture could lead to increased venture capital funding for inclusive business models which deliver goods and services to those at the base of the economic pyramid,” said Aniruddha Patil, investment specialist with ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department.

Greater access to electricity in rural India will enable children to study beyond sunset, replace smoky fuels such as kerosene with clean solar energy, improve respiratory health of household members, and improve overall productivity of rural households.

Simpa Networks was established in 2010 by entrepreneurs Paul Needham, Jacob Winiecki, and Michael Macharg to develop affordable clean energy solutions for underserved consumers globally.

The World Bank International Finance Corporation is also involved as advisor to Simpa Networks.