Keywords: microfinance, MF, renewable energy, RE, microbanking, non-self-liquidating loans, quality-of-life investments, microenterprises, new product development, service delivery, solar energy, solar power, biogas, air quality, sustainability, sustainable development, product innovation
Microfinance for Renewable Energy: financing the 'former poor'
Microbanking facilities have helped large numbers of developing country nationals by supporting the establishment and growth of microenterprises. And yet, the microfinance movement has grown on the back of passive replication and needs to be revitalised with new product offerings and innovative service delivery. Renewable Energy systems viz., solar home systems, biogas digesters, etc., serve to improve indoor air quality, provide superior light and extend working and study hours. Such applications are not inherently income generating and returns on such investments accrue from cost avoidance, but should qualify for microfunding, as such 'quality of life' investments, reflect borrower maturity and simultaneously contribute to MFI sustainability.