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Story when entreprenuer, microfinancing and renewable energy got hitched

Thursday, October 21, 2010 4 comments

There is a constant lingering uproar about the cost of renewable energy technologies. In India it costs around INR 140-160 million per MW to install a solar PV plant. Most of the companies have ventured with huge plans and would be able to cater to certain percentage of the pie. But how can state and central government implement the same? Also, various rural upliftment schemes have failed miserable in the past along with failure in providing employment opportunity to the youth in these regions. How to tackle the same? I found the answer from a model case in South Africa rural area.
A French-company PlaNet Finance is mulling over combining entrepreneurship, micro-financing and renewable energy all under one umbrella. The model establishes an environment where entrepreneurs are trained to start their own franchises within a community and also equips the franchisee with the necessary skills to run the business, paired with the necessary access to loan facilities. This has generated quite a buzz in the community with rural people looking forward of implementation of the same. It would provide employment opportunity and clean power for the community and good returns for the entrepreneurs and micro-financing institutions.

What's you take on the same? Can this be adopted in India as well? What would be the challenges?
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Will renewable energy emerge from the fad?

Monday, October 4, 2010 3 comments

In a recent update, internationally all the venture capitalists (vc) have invested around USD 1.53 billion, less than USD 1.71 billion last year in the same quarter. No matter we go ga-ga about "India renewable story", North America attracted around 61 percent of the total clean-tech capital. In comparison, India has managed a meager 4 percent.
In terms of sectors, transportation i.e. clean cars have received the maximum level of investments followed by biofuel and smart grid companies. The point here is that renewable & clean-tech sector is attracting in new business models. Solar and other allied technologies i.e. wind, hydro, bio-gas need fuel in-form of huge investments. Companies in these sectors need to showcase the financial viability along with their support to a carbon-free environment.
Towards this, the main culprit should be held. I believe it is the project management in research and development activities undertaken by the companies. Many projects in solar energy are government and/ or private-company funded. While private companies push their R&D centers for results, the same can not be said for government funded projects. For starters, each penny of the funding must be made accountable with very strict guidelines and deadlines. The main two aspects of a solar funding must be made: 1) increase solar efficiency 2) make it commercially viable. Many exotic materials have been tried. But are they commercially viable? The answer is for you to answer!
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