Light for All

Light for All

Nepal
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

"Light for All" projects targeting the poor rural household are not unique. However this initiative doesn’t rely on subsidies, it rather focuses on the whole system facilitation at the local level and cost-revenues. The project has facilitated a local alternative "WLED based Solar Lamps" superior in lumin to the traditional kerosene lamp, driving on a business model by local entrepreneurs.

About You
Organization:
Centre for Renewable Energy
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Section 1: About You
First Name

Babu Raja

Last Name

Shrestha

Country
Section 2: About Your Organization
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Yes

Organization Name

Centre for Renewable Energy

Organization Phone

+977-1-5011010

Organization Address

Lalitpur, bagmati Zone

Organization Country

, BA

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Your idea
Country your work focuses on
Innovation
What makes your innovation unique?

In Nepal about 2.4 million households, or 60% of Nepalese population in Nepal, rely on kerosene based wick lamp (Tuki) at present. However, this form of lighting is neither cost effective, nor environment-friendly and safe for those households. Nepal has a huge hydro-electrical potential but it is not economically and technically feasible to reach every Nepali household and by expanding the electrical grid due to the country's difficult topography and socio-economical conditions. This makes it imperative for Nepal to develop decentralized renewable energy systems to provide sustainable energy sources to the rural people.
This is where the Solar Tuki comes in to the picture. Solar Tuki is solar powered, low cost form of lighting that provides a viable alternative to the traditional kerosene-wick lamps and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The system is designed in a very simple way to match the local rural technical capability and financial affordability specially targeting the poor.
On January 2005 CRE (Centre for Renewable Energy) launched the “Light For All” Movement with the objective to minimize use of kerosene based wick lamps if not completely eliminate by 2015. The project builds on social entrepreneurships- using a business model to sustain and secure the outreach of this product to all parts of the country. The project input is focused on developing the systems to enable the business model to flourish, by providing; Technical Design, Technical Trainings and Tools, Capacities Building of entrepreneurship, Seed Capital Creation for micro finance and establishing networks for awareness creation.

Do you have a patent for this idea?

Yes

Impact
Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact

The Solar Tuki has provided rural and poor families with a reliable, safe source of light that exceeds the illumination of the existing kerosene lamp, at fewer costs. As Solar Tuki is based on a freely available renewable energy source, it has extended the operation of the light, which increases the productivity of households and their children's study time. Moreover as the Solar Tuki is a safe form of light, it allows people to use the light inside their mosquito curtain, reducing risks of malaria.
Solar Tuki technology is very simple, making it understandable for people without a technical background. It allows unskilled people to be trained on producing and repairing Solar Tuki Lamps. The project includes the set up of; manufacturing and service centers and soft loan financing at the village level. This has resulted in an increased employment and investments which has increased the overall economic activity in the rural areas.
The project fully recognizes the role of women as the main user of the household lighting. Preference is given to women (groups), who are trained to run the service centre or assembling job utilizing their own network for sales and after sales. This has not only created jobs for women but has also empowered them within society structures.

At the environmental level, Solar Tuki saves kerosene consumption and CO2 emission. In the rural households, solar tukis save at least three litre of kerosene per month, which totals half a million litters of kerosene saved annually.
Center for Renewable Energy (CRE) enabled over a period of the five year (2005-2010), the establishment of seven manufacturing companies and about 25 service centers. The project started with an external grant of 50,000 USD to develop the micro finance loan towards households. With the active input of 25 micro finance institutions, the total finance loan expanded to a 200,000 USD fund and is still growing. The success of CRE’s product has catalyzed to the emergence of other competing entrepreneurs. An additional 10 other manufactures are producing similar solar lights with more than 40 service centers.

Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing

In Nepal about 2.4 million households, or 60% of Nepalese population in Nepal, rely on kerosene based wick lamp (Tuki) at present. However, this form of lighting is neither cost effective, nor environment-friendly and safe for those. Nepal has a huge hydro-electrical potential but it is not economically and technically feasible to reach every Nepali household and by expanding the electrical grid due to the country's difficult topography and socio-economical conditions. This makes it imperative for Nepal to develop decentralized renewable energy systems to provide sustainable energy sources to the rural people.
This is where the Solar Tuki comes in to the picture. Solar Tuki is solar powered, low cost form of lighting that provides a viable alternative to the traditional kerosene-wick lamps and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The system is designed in a very simple way to match the local rural technical capability and financial affordability specially targeting the poor.
On January 2005 CRE (Centre for Renewable Energy) launched the “Light For All” Movement with the objective to minimize use of kerosene based wick lamps if not completely eliminate by 2015. The project builds on social entrepreneurships- using a business model to sustain and secure the outreach of this product to all parts of the country. The project input is focused on developing the systems to enable the business model to flourish, by providing; Technical Design, Technical Trainings and Tools, Capacities Building of entrepreneurship, Seed Capital Creation for micro finance and establishing networks for awareness creation.

Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. Include a description of the business model. What might prevent that success?

Nepal has very rough geographical terrain without proper roads and infrastructure. The settlements in mountain and hilly areas are scattered and some time need days walk to reach from one settlement to another in the same village development committee. Nepal is divided in 75 districts and has nearly 3900 Village development committees. The market penetration strategy is based on establishing district level Solar Tuki assembling units in all district of Nepal and service centers in every village.
The poor infrastructure and the practically non existing trading culture in rural settlement will practically make it impossible to develop sustainable business model for the new entrepreneurs of Solar Tuki business. They will need assistance for their capacity building. The training and technology transfer is the simple portion of the needed assistance to setup service. To manufacture the qualitative final consumer products, it requires quality components and skilled workforce. In Nepalese context, electronic components including WLEDs, PV panels have to be imported. To enable a constant supply of the qualitative raw components, institutions such as business houses that have the ability to import them in bulk has to be involved. Or need to establish a central warehouse business model to stock the components and make it available to small entrepreneurs who will later add value by assembling the final product in their own region/ locality.
After sales service and customer satisfaction plays a vital role in commercializing the product. Local individuals, NGOs and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) can create linkages between the manufacturers and the consumers, by establishing service providers unit
As most of the targeted beneficiaries of the Solar Tuki live below the poverty line, most of them cannot afford the up-front cost. Here the role of micro finance institutions comes in for providing consumer loan to their members to fulfill the consumer's necessity for light. The repayment schedule can be matched to the monthly expenditure on the kerosene of the household. This way it will not put any financial stress to the consumer and defaulter-risk, will be minimized. Thus, it is a new investment opportunity for Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs).
Failure to facilitate the above issue and solution to them might lead to failure of the program. CRE is dynamically working to create facilities to remove the obstacles such as establishing Clean Energy Waqlk in learning Centre to provide technical training, Central Ware house, Renewable Energy parks ect.

Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible

In the census data of 2001, it is clearly mention the 2.4 million households mostly in rural and few in urban sector use the kerosene lamp as only source of light in the evening. About 80 thousands households do not have any access to the kerosene too, they relay on fire wood or fat wood burning for the evening lights.
Even though the country is rich in hydropower potential, there is not enough construction to meet the annual growth of urban demands, and we were instructed we have to compromise with regular load shedding for next few years.
Government program of rural electrification based on renewable source of energy is unfortunately subsidy driven program. The second phase of ESAP has targeted to provide electrical lights for next 500 thousands households during their 5 year program period.
Even we do not consider the average growth rate of population and so the demand for lighting energy, there are still 1.9 million households will not have any other choice than to buy kerosene or the alternative source of lighting device if they wish to have evening lights.
Let's assume the 15 percent of the households will be user of the Solar Tukis in the next 3 year period. It certainly is an achievable market around 190 thousands households in three year period. The business plan will be to achieve 40 thousands households in 1st year of operation, 80 thousand the next consecutive year and 100 thousands then after till the demand for these systems are there.
Local level partner organization such as saving credit groups, Community based local development organizations, local cooperative and individual entrepreneurs will be made aware of the technology. The awareness program will be initiated to demonstrate the system, to motivate locals to switch to the Solar Tuki lighting system.
Since the system will be promoted at commercial basis (without subsidy),the quality of the product and the reliable after sales service guarantee will be the key element to gain the trust of the consumers. The locals will be encouraged to establish local service centre at Village level where as at district centre where grid connection are available the district level Solar Tuki assembling unit.
The business model will have no intermediate dealers. The product will be delivered only through local level service centre 10 % of the retail price will be incentive for the service provider. The local level micro-financing institution or the community based organization can charge interest on loan according to their organizational rules.
District level assembling units should run the business as normal profit making business.

How many people will your project serve annually?

More than 10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your innovation seek to have an impact on public policy?

No

If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?

Approximately 150 words left (1200 characters).

Sustainability
What stage is your Social Enterprise in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Does your organization have a board of directors or an advisory board?

Yes

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Yes

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with businesses?

Yes

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with government?

No

Please tell us more about how partnerships could be critical to the success of your Social Enterprise

A key challenge of getting the Solar Tukis to the most remote areas with high demand is proper distribution. Orientation and training of the locals is one of the key strategies of dissemination of the technology. The primary strategy allows local entrepreneurs to make over 36% of the total cost of the Solar Tuki (Retail price) by assembling and marketing it themselves
Making the product available is just an initial part of the effort. After sales service and customer satisfaction plays a vital role in commercializing the product. Local individuals, NGOs and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) can create linkages between the manufacturers and the consumers, by establishing service providers unit. The incentive for the service providers would be the service fee that is integrated in the price of the Solar Tuki.
The targeted beneficiaries of the Solar Tuki live below the poverty line, most of them cannot afford the up-front cost (the price of the Solar Tuki set is US$ 50.00). Here the role of micro finance institutions comes in for providing consumer loan to their members to fulfill the consumer's necessity for light.
The entrepreneur development module developed and experimented as indicated above has really proven to be effective. The quality Solar Tuki manufactured under these modules and efficient after sales service has built the trust among the users ultimately creating "Solar Tuki" brand.

We would like to learn more about how your initiative is financially supported. Please explain your business plan/revenue model

The marketing activities with the social obligation as mentioned below will be a win – win approach whereby the local villagers/entrepreneurs will be encouraged to involve themselves in the “Light for All” program. This program is much more inclusive rather than providing subsidies from the state coffers. For the understanding of the business planning of the Central warehouse (import and clearance Business of the electronics and electrical components of Solar Tukis) following things have to be clearly identified.
Light for All is the campaign to replace present use of polluting kerosene based lamp by, none polluting and affordable better alternative lamps such as Solar Tukis. The Solar Tukis are the lamps based on low power consuming White Light Emitting Diode based solar lamps.
To achieve the above target, at the initial phase the Centre Ware House will facilitate to promote at least 10 to 15 local leveled small manufacturing industries with annual capacity of approximately 4000 sets of Solar Tuki production. The basis concept for establishing a Solar Tuki assembly unit in every district head quarter will be laid in the form of co-operative (net-working principle).
The Central Warehouse share will be provided to the member who establishes the assembly industry. The assembler will be the customer of the Solar Tuki components that will trade the central warehouse. CW will provide facilitate the electrical and electronic components in time bounded credit basis to the members. The assembler will assemble the Solar Tuki at local level and market them to their convenient locality at their own terms and conditions.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

Solar Tukis
• Have better lighting efficiency that is brighter than kerosene lamp illumination.
• Emit no polluting gas, no black soot and pose no health risks.
• Are wind and fire proof and can thus be used inside mosquito nets to extend study hours for students (especially in the terai plains) without being exposed to mosquito and insect bites..
The Solar Tuki set comprises of two White Light Emitting Diode (WLED) based Lamps of 0.5 watt each, one 2.5 watt Solar Panel, one radio power connecting cable and backed by a consumer friendly warranty package.
The PV Solar Panel of the Solar Tuki System captures energy from the radiation of the sun and converts it to electrical energy for charging the Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) Batteries built in the lamp set. The 1300 mAh NiMh battery has a life cycle of 600 cycles (equivalent to two years). These rechargeable batteries are assembled in a 3.6 volt battery pack. They have no memory affect and contain no toxic substance.
The 2.5 watt Solar Panel's specifications are as follows:
Maximum peak power- 2.5 Wp; Rated voltage-8 volt; Rated current- 300 mA at 100 mw/sq cm.
The WLED used is of 100 milli watt type which emits white light at 70 degrees and with 20 mA rated current flow. The operating volt ranges from 3.2 to 3.6 volts. 4 numbers of WLED is connected at parallel with a 10 ohm current limiting resistor.
The lamp set has 3 volt D.C. outlet to supply power to a small AM/FM radio (operational with 2 AA batteries).

Tell us about the person—the social innovator—behind this idea.

Babu raja Shrestha is the Asoka Fellow, the profile is available in Ashoka profile

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Personal contact at Changemakers

If through another source, please provide the information