Bringing Clean Energy to the Base of the Pyramid: The Interplay of Business Models, Technology, and Local Context

Emily Albi, Andrew E. Lieberman

Abstract

Social enterprises are providing affordable energy and environmentally sustainable energy to a small but growing percentage of the four billion people living on less than $2,000/year. Santa Clara University’s Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBITM) has worked with over 60 of these enterprises and profiled them on its Energy Map website. Based on this direct experience and associated research, the authors conclude that it is the interplay among innovative business models, quality technologies tailored to localized energy markets, and appropriate interfacing with local ecosystems that allows social enterprises to go to scale. This conclusion is supported by a review of prominent enterprises including Shindulai, Solar Sister, Angaza Design, Potential Energy, Selco, Husk Power Systems, and Practical Action.


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