In the Push to Expand Energy Access, Companies Eye Loan Guarantees

Loan guarantees have been around since at least the 1940s, when the U.S. government backed loans for homes, farms and businesses for World War II veterans. More recently, the U.S. government has used loan guarantee programs to support the development of clean energy. Projects including the large Ivanpah solar facility in California’s Mojave Desert, a large cellulosic ethanol plant opening this month in Kansas, and—infamously—the failed solar company Solyndra have all been beneficiaries of Department of Energy loan guarantees.

Now, loan guarantees are being considered for a different kind of application: energy access for the roughly 1.3 billion people worldwide who live in the dark. For companies that provide services to the energy-poor, the greatest challenge is not necessarily technology, but finance.

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Comment by Salvatore Chester on November 6, 2014 at 2:41am

For BOP customers I know (in rural Ethiopia), In my opinion the bet options is still to go c.o.d. for "available right products". That is quality, durable and affordable: ranging from $ 10 to 30 for lighting and mobile charging. The clever, additional burden of "other products" (costly loans and guarantees) make access to electricity more difficult, to me. For sure billions of such people did not need such clever loans and guarantees for the dissemination of mobile phones. It's upon us to prove we can deliver "the right products", their money is simply ready. Best.

Comment by vincenzo capogna on November 6, 2014 at 1:21am

Very interesting! Thank you for sharing. 

Comment by Mitra Ardron on November 3, 2014 at 10:47am

Useful article Chad, we are looking at using Guarrantees for SEAL.

Comment by samson tsegaye on October 30, 2014 at 11:36am

Dear Chad

great, This approach is really important for a country like Ethiopia, Many got stuck by lacking such opportunities. I wish to have this chance in Ethiopia. Thank you for sharing.


Comment by Cindy Nawilis on October 16, 2014 at 2:49pm

This would be a great enhancement to what we at SunFunder currently offer!

Comment by Yotam Ariel on October 15, 2014 at 11:07pm

This is very interesting. Thank you for sharing, Chad.


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