Grameen Shakti is a non-profit village renewable energy scheme, linked to the micro credit lender Grameen Bank, pioneering solar systems for homes in Bangladesh.
About 70% of the population in Bangladesh does not have access to electricity. Grameen Shakti operates a small loans scheme that enables poor households to buy a solar system. They cost about $135, but villagers usually pay in installments.
Solar systems are helping reduce footprint by replacing polluting kerosene-fired lanterns and helping reduce deforestation. The scheme also creates local jobs and income opportunities. Some women have doubled their income and become energy distributors as a result of the electricity.
Some 2.5 million people are benefiting from solar energy systems, and Grameen Shakti have plans to reach 10 million people by 2012. About 10,000 new solar home systems are being constructed every month. Grameen Shakti is aiming to create 100,000 jobs in the renewable energy and related businesses. Grameen Shakti won the $1.5 million Zayed Future Energy Prize from Abu Dhabi.
References: Majumber, A. (2009): Bangladesh’s rural poor tap the power of the sun. International Herald Tribune 18th August 2009.
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