Lighting the Developing World: Business Model Innovation in the Face of Unique Risks in Rural Lighting and Electrification

May 27, 2013 | State of the Market Report

As the costs of solar, lighting, and energy storage technologies continue to fall, these technologies present a possible solution in the developing world where over 1 billion residents live without access to reliable electricity. However, national utilities, government agencies, and multinational players have been excedingly slow to approach the rural lighting and electrification market, citing that customers are incapable of affording electricity and lighting systems. In light of this, a growing list of small ventures are successfully addressing the need with a mixture of innovative business models that alleviate capital cost concerns. However, once the cost barrier is surmounted, the small ventures are discovering a long list of unexpected hurdles that are often exclusive to the developing world. In this report, we take a detailed look at these hurdles, citing examples from real world deployments, and we evaluate how the business models alleviate or exacerbate the market-specific hurdles. Finally,we examine the impact that a strategic investor or partner would have on the small ventures and the market, identifying the select few ventures that offer significant long-term potential with the lowest risk profile.

Coverage Areas

  • Energy Storage
  • Future Grid
  • Next Generation Power
  • Owning the Energy Transition
  • The Future of Mobility

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Landscape
  • Analysis
  • Outlook
  • Endnotes

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