Monday, January 21, 2013

Going Solar in Energy-Poor Areas

The daily reality for 1.3 billion people around the world is a lack of access to modern energy.  They must rely on candles, or a kerosene lantern for any night activity. Students and shopkeepers have only a flickering, dim light, and clinics can’t refrigerate vaccines. About 1.5 million people, mostly women, die of kerosene-induced pollution annually, while even more are affected by respiratory diseases and burn injuries.

Solar energy is abundant in most parts of the world where modern energy sources are lacking and there’s a big opportunity for solar to become the leading affordable, high-quality source of energy. 
Thanks to the falling cost of LED lighting, batteries and panels, as well as new technology that allows customers to “pay as you go", solar is economically feasible without subsidies.

One critical obstacle to success is access to financing. Solar projects are capital intensive and require debt financing to scale.  Companies operating in emerging and developing markets exist in the “missing middle”—too large for micro-finance and too small for commercial lending, and subject to exhorbitant interest rates.

SunFunder is a crowd-funding platform for anyone to invest in high-impact, vetted solar energy projects in off-grid markets around the world. SunFunder solves the biggest problem facing solar businesses working to deploy affordable solar: access to financing. SunFunder unlocks a big new source of capital for solar, individual investors who will be able to invest $25 or more in solar projects, earn a return, track their project’s performance, and reinvest in more projects to grow their impact.

For other crowdfunding opportunities check out Kiva and Kickstarter.

Until next time...become the change you imagine.

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