About Us

Context

More than two-thirds of India’s 1.25 billion population lives in rural areas, with little or no access to modern energy services. Despite the Government of India’s best efforts to address this, over 300 million people still do not have access to electricity while over 800 million still depend on traditional fuels and practices for their cooking needs (World Energy Outlook, 2014). Responding to the above situation, rural renewable energy enterprises stepped in with innovative solutions and business models. Several challenges within the off-grid ecosystem have been responsible for limiting the scale of business for enterprises. Low awareness levels among the target customers translate into limited demand for solutions provided by rural energy enterprises. Poorly developed supply chains further add to the challenges. The absence of a conducive policy and regulatory environment, inadequate access to enterprise and end user financing, lack of skilled/qualified human resources, etc. are also key barriers for the development of the off-grid sector.

Objective

The Indo-German Energy Programme – Access to Energy in Rural Areas (IGEN-ACCESS) seeks to create a conducive environment for rural renewable energy enterprises in order to make energy services easily accessible to the rural population.

Approach

Adopting a holistic approach to the development of the off-grid sector, IGEN-Access will build upon three strategic pillars: Private Sector Development and Innovation, Access to Finance and Public Support Programmes.

  • Private Sector Development and Innovation: The focus will be on market and business development through business support organisations such as sector associations, incubation and training centres, that also support early stage enterprises.
  • Access to Finance: The emphasis will be on building capacities within public and private financial institutions to increase lending for rural energy solutions. Efforts will also be made to co-create innovative and socially-acceptable financing instruments at the enterprise and end user level, where traditional instruments are not applicable.
  • Public Support Programmes: The focus will be on the development and implementation of public support programmes, guidelines, standards, which support and promote the use of renewable energy in rural areas. Against this background, IGEN-Access will extend capacity building support to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and respective state departments and agencies.

Expected Results

The IGEN-Access project is expected to yield multiple benefits at different levels:

  • A minimum of 75% of rural energy enterprises supported by IGEN-Access directly or indirectly, will display significant improvement of business conditions during the project period.
  • Four National or State level programmes or regulations to support access to energy whose development has been supported by the programme are adopted.
  • Two additional financial instruments which provide loans to 10,000 rural households are available on National or State level.
  • Twenty rural energy enterprises – 6 of which are managed by women – have been trained by programme partners and have developed business plans which addresses 25,000 households.

While access to energy will improve the quality of life of the people, it will also provide new opportunities for income-generating activities. Replacing traditional fuels with modern energy under the project will benefit women and children, in particular, as they are exposed to high level of indoor pollution on a daily basis due to the use of biomass for cooking. Such initiatives will be important milestones in the project’s journey towards facilitating easy access to energy in rural India.