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Networks and the Diffusion of Off-Grid Solar Technologies

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DOI: 10.4236/lce.2017.82006    928 Downloads   1,735 Views Citations


Nearly 1.2 billion people on the planet still lack access to electricity, 250 million of whom reside in India. Off-grid solar technologies can help meet some of the energy needs of these people but have faced a variety of financial, technical, and political barriers. Pro-poor innovation, led by emerging enterprises such as Green Light Planet (GLP), holds the key to understanding how low carbon technologies such as off-grid solar might achieve scale. This case study builds on prior research examining what factors affect the ability of an off-grid solar firm to achieve scale in India by examining the most successful company in terms of unit sales. Through that extensive research of the off-grid market in India, it was revealed that GLP far outsold other companies in its class around 2015. One of the factors affecting its ability to scale is the fact that its products are modular and require little to no financing for the customers. This case study further reveals that the company’s main innovation is the business model, which relies on networks of sales agents operating under a system of sales targets, incentives and boosters. By shifting the responsibility of making sales to last-mile entrepreneurs, the company leverages its network to continuously move inventory off the shelf and into the hands of customers.

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Singh, K. (2017) Networks and the Diffusion of Off-Grid Solar Technologies. Low Carbon Economy, 8, 63-80. doi: 10.4236/lce.2017.82006.

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