THE BUSINESS OF OFF-GRID LIGHTING IN INDIAResearch Team: Koyel Mandal, Chayan Bandyopadhyay, Shivaranjani.V, Sunanda Rathi
LEAD Centre: Centre for Development Finance (CDF)
Focus Area: Environment & Climate Change
Project Geography: India
Partner: Friedrich Naumann Foundation
The energy starved rural India still depends on kerosene and candles for lighting purposes. This is set to change with the introduction of off-grid lighting in India to cater to the needs of the ‘base of the pyramid’. Service provision through off-grid technologies has emerged as a viable option for enhancing electricity access, especially in rural areas. Moreover, the escalating fuel prices have further augmented the economic appeal and viability of technology options. Yet, the long-term prospects of off-grid electrification are contingent upon facets more than technology. Effective prioritization and planning, appropriate infrastructure and sustainable financing play a key role in the successful deployment and dissemination of these technologies. This study helps in understanding the current and potential role of private sector in the market for off-grid lighting in India. The study discusses three lighting solutions for rural India: solar lanterns, solar home lighting systems and mini-grids. A snapshot of their current market structures in terms of financing and distribution channels is also presented along with issues in smooth market entry and sustainably scaling up operations.
BRIEF: Conference Summary: The Business of off-grid lighting