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SELCO, India

Affordable solar power for homes and small businesses

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Food stall lit by SELCO solar lamp.

SELCO-India believes that clean energy can work for everyone, rich and poor. But it also appreciates that, without credit, clean energy can remain the preserve of the few. By working with local banks and microfinance organisations, SELCO has given nearly 112,000 homes across Southern India access to more reliable and more cost-effective sources of power.

The technology is solar, tailored photovoltaic systems installed in homes and also for market-stall holders and other small businesses. In a country where electricity supply is unreliable for many and non-existent for 44% of the population, this is life-changing. Children can read, women can devote more time to income-generating activities and all can breathe more easily as kerosene–burning lamps are discarded.

The credit comes in the form of loans from the finance institutions which are also tailored to individual circumstance and which are typically repaid over five years with savings from lower fuel costs. SELCO doesn’t make loans itself, but provides the credibility and customer knowledge which the lender requires.

All of which saves an estimated 35,000 tonnes/year CO2. As significantly, SELCO has also attracted major investment from finance institutions that recognise that technology and sustainability can be both life-enhancing and profitable.

(our earlier film of the work of SELCO is in its 2005 database entry)