The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, is advising Indian technology start-up Simpa Networks to expand it’s meter-based prepaid energy service using an innovative pricing system which aims to provide half-a-million rural Indians access to affordable and clean energy over the next three years.
Rural consumers with low and uncertain incomes find it difficult to pay the upfront cost of a solar energy system. Simpa Networks is working towards enabling consumers and small businesses to access and pay for electricity based on actual use the same way they pay for cellular services using a mobile phone. Once a user has bought a solar system for a small initial cost, he can recharge it according to his usage need.
“We sell solar like prepaid mobile phone service,” said Paul Needham, President and co-founder of Simpa Networks. “In effect, we are replicating the successful prepaid, pay-as-you-go pricing plan, making it easier for everyone to adopt clean energy.”
Simpa’s solutions also help private sector companies deploying solar micro-grids and solar home systems. They are able to manage the risks of financing clean energy projects better, giving them greater access to finance to support scale-up of clean energy solutions.