The Applied Materials Foundation (AMF), in partnership with The Small-Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Development Fund, Inc. (S3IDF) and SELCO Solar Light Pvt Ltd. (SELCO), commits to grant $230,000 to expand energy access for poor households and underserved schools in India through Electrifying Villages and Schools in India: Part II. This project is divided into three components:
1) Electrifying Households - provide household lighting for 1100 households
2) Energizing Schools - provide lights and educational equipment in 10 schools
3) Assessing Impact and Measuring Outcomes - develop metrics, tools, and a tracking system
This commitment, Electrifying Villages and Schools in India: Part II, builds upon the successful work completed in 2012 through the AMF's 2011 Commitment to Action Electrifying Villages and Schools in India. Through this expansion the number of beneficiary households will increase beyond the previous goal by 100 for a total of 1100. In addition, this commitment will include a greater focus on marginalized households that, as a result of their socio-economic status (members from previously scheduled castes, tribal communities, etc.) and/or their remote or otherwise 'difficult-to-service' locations (urban slums, remote rural villages, etc.), face energy access challenges. There will also be increased focus on powering digital electronic media and promoting a more inclusive education system.
Target households and schools will be identified directly by field staff and, in some cases, through suggestions made by members of S3IDF's/SELCO's partnership network. All households and schools to be included will be selected based on needs assessments conducted by field staff.
Electrifying Villages and Schools in India: Part II will also serve as a pilot for new outcome measurement and impact assessment metrics, tools, and a data tracking system. This component will help provide a more nuanced understanding of the systemic impact of this type of intervention across social, environmental, and economic outcomes. This set of measurement tools is also expected to enhance S3IDF's and SELCO's ability to assist others with developing their own project outcome and impact assessment systems.
Electrifying Villages and Schools in India: Part II will be implemented from January through December 2013. Specific dates and deliverables are as follows:
Electrifying Households Deliverables:
- Electrify 800 households addressing four to five financial barriers
- Electrify 10 marginalized customer segments (i.e. 300 marginalized households)
- Develop five partnerships with local banks or microfinance institutions
- Develop a case story booklet that showcases replicable stories
Q1: January to March - 300 households
Q2: April to June - 300 households
Q3: July to September - 250 households
Q4: October to December - 250 households
Energizing Schools Deliverables
- At least 10 schools (conventional and non-conventional) impacted
- At least 500 students experience the benefits of digital education powered by renewable energy
- At least 100 out-of-school children from non-conventional schools experience the benefits of renewable energy
- At least two schools (out of 10 schools) are identified and cultivated as model sustainable energy schools
- At least three new partnerships are forged
Q1: January to March - Preliminary assessment of school needs and investigation into potential partnerships
Q2: April to June - Ongoing assessments and investigations into partnership possibilities and initial agreements with selected schools signed. No implementation activity due to school holidays.
Q3: July to September - Five schools, 300 school students, 50 out-of-school students
Q4: October to December - Five schools, 200 school students, 50 out-of-school students
Outcome Measurement and Impact Assessment Deliverables
- Metric sets for the project fall in several categories, including institutional (school) and household consumer projects
- Report that summarizes the social, environmental, and economic effects of the AMF-SELCO- S3IDF project
- Assessment of the overall utility of the metrics, tools, and tracking system for wider application throughout the organizations based on the AMF-SELCO-S3IDF project 'learning-through-doing' application. The assessment will also outline a plan to facilitate organization-wide implementation and to use the system to assess 'systems' impact over time.
Q1: January to March - Preliminary research into existing outcome measurement and impact assessment metrics, tools, and tracking systems
Q2: April to June - Development of tailored assessment and monitoring system
Q3: July to September - Pilot assessment and monitoring system in the context of the AMF-SELCO/S3IDF project
Q4: October to December - Analysis of the specific AMF-SELCO-S3IDF project results, including assessment of system's utility for future ongoing use
Recent global attention on the challenge of access to energy (Rio+20, UN Sustainable Energy for All) has inspired a number of initiatives that aim to deliver decentralized energy services. Despite the demand and willingness to pay for these services among poor populations in India, barriers to the expansion of energy services remain. Two of the most significant barriers are the lack of flexible end-user financing and reliable service and maintenance programs for energy products.
Low-income end-users in impoverished communities are often unable to afford the up-front costs of many energy products, such as household/institutional solar lighting systems, and struggle to find appropriate financing options. These consumers also tend to be risk averse and, while they are willing to purchase energy products, it is not always easy to determine which products are worth their investment. Addressing these gaps in end-user financing and servicing requires:
Enhancing Affordability - Flexible financing that responds to end-users' needs and cash flows, enabling them to select higher cost and quality energy products without compromising affordability.
Enhancing confidence - Post-sale servicing and maintenance programs that are guaranteed as part of energy product purchases allow end-users to feel comfortable investing in higher cost/higher quality energy products.