Grameen Shakti, Bangladesh, Micro-finance solar home systems – Ashden Award winner

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This video can be downloaded here: http://www.ashdenawards.org/winners/grameen Grameen Shakti won an Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy in 2006.

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Grameen Shakti has sold and installed over 65,000 solar home-systems (SHS) in rural Bangladesh, and brought major benefits to its users. Nearly 70% of households in Bangladesh are not connected to the electricity grid and depend on kerosene for lighting. This includes most rural areas and extends as far as the fringes of Dhaka. There are plans to extend the grid, but there is little prospect of substantial change in the foreseeable future.

By selling SHS, Grameen Shakti has provided lighting, communications (especially mobile phone charging) and TV, and has increased employment opportunities. It is the largest single installer of SHS in Bangladesh.

This impressive number of installations has been achieved by enabling users to purchase their systems on micro-credit with affordable terms, tailored to their specific needs. Funding for the micro-credit system comes from the World Bank and GEF via the Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) which provides Grameen Shakti with both subsidy and concessional loans. The cash pool from credit repayments will enable Grameen Shakti to continue the scheme when the subsidy, which is being phased out, ceases in 2008.

Grameen Shakti has also started a network of technology centres throughout the country to manage the installation and maintenance of SHS locally. It emphasises the importance of technicians who know local customs working through local branches, and has trained 2,000 (mainly female) technicians. It aims to install 100,000 systems by 2006 and sees the potential to install one million systems by 2015.

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