Are we missing a huge chance for collaboration in India?!

Hello everyone!

I would like to encourage the entire community of Luminanetizens to flex their networks in India because I have noticed an alarming insulation between the conversation in the global  Energy Access/off-grid lighting community and the parallel domestic activity in the same space.

I will be launching a product in India next quarter so we have been traveling there in advance of relocating our team and I observed the following:

  1. Government-convened roundtable discussions on rural microgrids with no representation from global companies. (I was the only internationally-based participant)
  2. Top organizers of International LED Expos in India were not aware of global companies present and active in India.
  3. Over 50 local companies offering lantern products.
  4. Almost no awareness among domestic suppliers about events such as the Energy Access Forum in India on September 10-12
  5. Active discussions on linkedin among india-based parties at Rural Electrification IndiaOff-Grid SolarBiz India GroupBattery & Energy Storage India
  6. Cool stuff being invented like http://www.bamboopowerbox.in that don't get enough chatter on the internet...
  7. Top technical experts in solar programs at TERI (LABL) and IIT-Delhi are not aware of domestic activities of some of the most touted winners of global prizes focused on solar lighting products. And Vice Versa. I met some of india's most experienced system designers (typically active in the defense off-grid space) who are unknown to global companies but are available as sources of local know how. *Full disclosure: This is the strategy that I am employing for my launch.

India has a large domestic industrial base, an underappreciated but sizable activity in charity and CSR space, and an amazingly generous subsidy environment prior to general elections or immediately after environmental disasters (which usually impact a massive number of people). On top of that, there are many university and R&D teams working out of sight of potential international collaborators.

When I travel to India, I usually check in with the companies we all know about abroad withing the first couple of weeks. But so much is flying under the radar! We should all be talking about companies like http://www.bewotechno.com. Check out this presentation with a photo of the prototype!The device they are developing would revolutionize payment collection for financing/PAYG and the founder was given an amazing capital injection and full technical backing from Qualcomm!

I am interested in feedback from anyone who is interested on how these resources can be leveraged and integrated into a broader coalition of complementary solution developers and a merging of local & global efforts to spur on the ground implementation.

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The Lighting Asia program should fit in here... (site | video).

There's little about it here in LuminaNET, but hopefully they will engage here at some point.

Does "bewo" product will popular in those lower income area?

they are woking for food all day, we need only simple function.

I think it waste more function on the product for rural area.

You might look into contacting them directly. I believe their products are more useful to companies which will provide services to low income areas, such as offering financing for home electricity, remote medical services, and others. 

Very interesting!
Thank you for sharing.

Hi Vincent,

Thanks for your interesting post. I work with the Lighting Asia program and it would be interesting to see synergies with this program and your work in India. The program broadly works in the off-grid lighting and mini-grid space and we are engaging with a number of companies, institutes like TERI, and FI's. The program currently has a small web presence but this will hopefully change soon... http://www.lightingafrica.org/asia/

Next time you or your representatives are passing through Delhi (or if there are any present) it may be interesting to meet with our team. Some members of our team will also be participating in the energy access workshop in Patna, Bihar. 

Dear Vincent

I work on the Lighting Asia - India Program of the IFC and woudl be happy to talk to you on your next visit to India to understand your concerns better. The Energy Access Forum in Patna actually saw great participation from domestic companies.  Could you also share details of this this govt convened roundtable discussion on rural micro grids that you have mentioned.

 

Regards

Anjali Garg

Energy Speicalist, IFC, South Asia

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