Grameen Shakti meaning ‘rural energy’, has pioneered a successful model for rural electrification through solar energy. Since it’s inception in 1996, GS has installed 20,000 solar home systems in remote rural areas of Bangladesh. Total power generated is one mega watt with zero carbon emission. The power is usually used for home lighting after dusk and recreational purposes, like watching TV, listening to music. GS was incorporated in 1996 for promoting renewable energy technologies in Bangladesh. GS has opened 80 unit offices countrywide to promote renewable energy and to serve its clients.
“Energy Globe Award 2002” Received by Managing Director of Grameen Shakti
GS encourages it’s customers to use the system for extending their working hours for income generation activity. At present small entrepreneurs are taking the opportunity of SHS and are using it for mobile phone charging, fish hatcheries, lighting for diesel operated rice mills, saw mills, tailoring shops, grocery shops, hotels, etc. GS also allows its customer to sell power to the neighboring shops. Children’s education and other household activities have been facilitated through SHS. Women are happy because of hassle free lighting system. They can use their idle time for productive uses like sewing, poultry farming, handicrafts. GS has trained up more than 600 technicians in rural areas to support the backup service of it’s clients, some of them have become full time employees of GS and the rest of them are working as free lance solar panel technicians.
GS has received the “Energy Globe Award 2002” from Austria in 2002 and “EUROSOLAR Prize 2003” from Germany in 2003. Grameen Shakti has been selected outside Europe due to its social and environmental commitment and has achieved this recognition for poverty reduction efforts.
Soft financing policy of GS
Success behind GS model is its innovative financing schemes and community involvement at grass root level. GS financing features are as follows:
Customer has to pay 15% of the total price as down payment during installation and remaining 85% of the cost is to be paid by monthly instalments within 36 months, including 12% service charge.
The customer has to pay 25% of the total price as down payment and remaining 75% of the cost is to be paid by monthly instalments within 24 months, with 8% service charge.
The customer has to pay 15% of the total price as down payment during installation, and remaining 85% of the cost including 10% service charge is to be paid by 36 post dated cheques.
4% discount is allowed for all cash purchase.
GS has planned to instal 100,000 SHS within 2008. It is also trying to explore applications of other renewable resources like wind, hydro and biomass.