SELCO is one of two 2015 Zayed Future Energy Prize “SME” finalists that have been Zayed Future Energy Prize finalists in previous years. SELCO was an early pioneer in the solar industry, bringing solar to the people of India way back in 1995! Importantly, SELCO isn’t a charity giving away solar. It is based on the premise that those in the developing world can afford and maintain solar.
Of course, financing is key. SELCO offers “service and consumer financing through grameena banks, cooperative societies, commercial banks and micro-finance institutions.” This has been very effective at bringing solar to households that couldn’t previously afford it. Since its start in 1995, SELCO has financed over 150,000 solar power systems. It now employs 300 people.
SELCO has also gone beyond solar. “It now offers a range of cleantech products: solar-powered indoor & outdoor home lighting; solar-powered street lights; solar thermal hot water heaters; solar inverter systems related to appliances like ceiling fans, TVs, music systems, sewing machines, and computers; and more.”
SELCO has recently been expanding to other countries. SELCO’s model has been replicated in other parts of India, in 8 countries in East and West Africa, and in 3 countries in South America and Southeast Asia. But SELCO is not looking to be monopolistic about its good cause. The company has an open platform for growth and has created the Selco Incubation Centre, which mentors other social entrepreneurs. The company wants to replicate its success — not by scaling up, or by creating a network of franchisees — but by creating a new set of entrepreneurs, who, in effect, could be competing with SELCO.
Image Source: SELCO
Originally published on Sustainnovate.