Research 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.

Related Resources
BRIEF: Conference Summary: The Business of off-grid lighting