The social enterprise delivering clean, reliable energy to 1 million in India's poorest regions
New Business Call to Action member will reduce CO2 emissions by 100,000 tons
Social enterprise ONergy has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA), a global initiative supported by the United Nations Development Programme and other international organisations that encourages companies to fight poverty through innovative business models. ONergy has pledged to scale up its successful product distribution network in order to bring reliable solar-powered products to India's poorest and underserved regions. The expansion is expected to provide solar energy to 1 million people by 2017 and reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 100,000 tons.
ONergy’s expansion calls for the creation of 50 new Renewable Energy Centres (REC), including a network of trained rural entrepreneurs and microfinance partners who will deliver and service the company’s proprietary line of solar power products in remote areas. The new centres will be situated in five states within ast and ortheast India. They are expected to create 100 full time jobs.
Founded in 2009, ONergy's three-pronged business model has already had a positive impact on 250,000 people in the regions where it currently operates. Its solar lighting, home electrification and cooking solutions alone are being used by more than 200,000 people. Solutions for agriculture are helping more than 4,000 farmers. Computers, water heating systems and other products are being used by more than 15,000 people and micro grids are helping another 8,000. The company has trained more than 600 rural entrepreneurs for its Renewable Resource Centres and its products have saved approximately 13,000 tons of CO2 emissions.
"ONergy is a tangible example of how inclusive business is both good for development and good for the bottom line," said Subathirai Sivakumaran, BCtA project manager. “Through its viable and profitable business model, the company is literally shining a light on livelihood opportunities previously unavailable to India's poorest people. We applaud their efforts and are pleased to welcome them as a Business Call to Action member.”
India's eastern region is abundant with minerals but it is among the country’s most impoverished areas. Its 184 million people – 35% of the population living at the bottom of the economic pyramid – have limited access to energy and are plagued by poor quality products, a lack of consumer financing for energy solutions and a poor last mile service infrastructure.
Founded in 2009, by 2012, the company had already reached profitability. Since inception, its average annual growth is in excess of 100% and it is anticipated that ONergy will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next fiveyears.
The above article first published on theguardian.com in Sep, 2015.