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SELCO India – Providing Sustainable Energy to the Poor

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Image: SELCO Website

 

I am a huge fan of SELCO India which is why I want to use my blog to introduce them. SELCO India is a social enterprise with the mission “to enhance the quality of life of underserved households and livelihoods through sustainable energy solutions and services”.

SELCO currently employs about 170 employees in Karnataka and Gujarat, spread across 25 energy service centers. Since their foundation in 1995, they have sold, serviced and financed over 115,000 solar systems to their customers!

The social enterprise was established with the aim to dispel three myths associated with sustainable technology and the rural sector as targeted customers:

1)      Poor people cannot afford sustainable technologies

2)      Poor people cannot maintain sustainable technologies

3)      Social ventures cannot be run as commercial entities.

They were able to prove those myths to be wrong! SELCO aims to and succeeds in empowering its customers by providing a complete bundle of product, service and consumer financing.

 

SELCO’s key characteristics are:

1)      Products based on end-user needs – going beyond just being a technology supplier but rather customising products based on the customers’ needs

SELCO’s systems utilise solar photovoltaic modules that generate electricity for water pumping, lighting, communications, entertainment, computing and small business appliances. These products can be purchased by both businesses and private individuals and do not need to be connected to a larger network.

 

2)      Installation and after sales service – dedicated regional energy service centers to ensure timely service and maintenance

SELCO offers high quality service for its customers and was able to build long term relationships with over 100,000 satisfied customers so far. Each of their systems is designed to meet their customers’ specific needs. The services offered include:

  • Custom system design
  • Installation
  • Training on proper system use
  • After-sales maintenance and support

 

3)      Standardised financing packages –  create attractive channels for end users to be able to afford systems based on their individual cash flow

SELCO benefits from the potential of the country’s significant rural banking system which allows them to finance sustainable energy solutions for poor rural households. So far, the company has developed partnerships with nine regional rural banks, NGOs, commercial banks and rural farmer cooperatives. These partnerships make it possible for SELCO to enable their customers to obtain the necessary credit to purchase their products.

 

Prizes won

2005: Accenture Economic Development Award

2005: Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy

2007: Ashden Award for Outstanding Achievement

2009: FT ArcelorMittal Boldness in Business Award in Corporate Responsibility

 

To learn more about SELCO, please visit their website >>

 

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