child reading in front of a light in the village of Krishan Kolhi, district Badin

Mahawish Rezvi

Great Energy Challenge Innovator: Eco Energy Finance

Project: Reaching the poor in Pakistan with clean energy solutions

Location: Karachi, Pakistan

Summary: In Pakistan, there are 65 million people without access to electricity. They meet their energy needs by using dung, wood, kerosene and flashlights. Affordable clean energy options exist, however until recently, they are not very available for the country's poor.

Eco Energy Finance offers a portfolio of renewable energy products that is comparable in cost to what Pakistani villagers currently spend to meet their lighting needs. In the past year, we created a network of 91 independent retail stores that provide sales and support to local communities. Building upon this success, we are expanding and improving our ability to meet customer needs. This new approach includes: (1) finance options that match customer spending habits, which decrease barriers to adoption of new products; and (2) investment in village-level entrepreneurs that interact with customers, collect monthly repayments and provide valuable feedback and insights to the rest of the Eco Energy Finance team. (Read about how serendipity and a common goal united co-founders Shazia Khan and Jeremy Higgs.)

This new strategy will not only meet the clean energy needs of the Pakistani poor, but also increase income-generation, educational and social opportunities. Further, this lifestyle will reduce health risks and negative pressures on the environment.

Goal: To improve the quality of life of the energy-poor of Pakistan through access to reliable and affordable clean energy solutions

Project Participants:

Eco Energy Finance: Shazia Khan, executive director; Jeremy Higgs, chief operation officer

The Great Energy Challenge grant program, in collaboration with a distinguished group of scientists acting as the board of advisors, awards roughly a half-dozen grants per year. The goal of the grant program is to hasten the growth of promising, global energy solutions as a response to climate change, energy resource constraints and environmental limitations.

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