And when the product is relatively new, like solar lighting devices, the challenge gets even bigger. In recent years, a host of companies - at last count, including 82 in the small and medium enterprises, or SME, sector - have begun making clean energy products. But taking them from village to village, giving rural folk the opportunity to buy and convincing them to do so, is another matter.
Photo by Frontier Markets More than women have fanned across the desert state of Rajasthan in western India to spread awareness on products powered by solar energy amongst poor people living in hard-to-reach villages.
Called Solar Sahelis solar women friendsthey are part of an innovative social enterprise that is bridging the last-mile gap in marketing renewable energy products such as lamps and household appliances in a state that receives to days of clear, sunny days.
But there is always hope. We are trying to convert sorrows of the desert state into smiles and hot challenges into big opportunities. Shah has been working in India for eight years in microfinance and clean energy distribution. With a product range that exceeds 30 and includes lanterns, torches, home lighting systems, street lights, garden lights and water heaters, the company claims to have benefitted more than 10 thousand families in the state.
Its efforts have earned it a place in the list of finalists for the international Ashden Awardsa globally recognised measure for excellence in the field of green energy. Shah, an entrepreneur who has her roots in Rajasthan and has been educated in the US, founded Frontier Markets in Jaipur five years ago and has since fashioned it into a leading marketing, sales and distribution firm in the clean energy space.
This was made possible by building a network of village women called Solar Sahelis.
Spreading awareness on solar products in a Rajasthan village. Photo by Frontier Markets Rajasthan is obvious choice to lead solar initiatives as it remains sunny most days of the year. The desert zones in its western parts that include Barmer, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur districts are endowed with kilowatt per square meter per day radiation and vast flat and unused land.
With these critical resources, the hotbeds of Thar Desert always possessed highest potential for solar energy and appliances. Only a few years back hotel industry was also compelled to install solar geysers but lackadaisical policies have since thwarted attempts to gain acceptance and motivation for solar.
While solar power plants, mega solar kitchens, solar vehicles, handy lanterns, etc.
With Rajasthan Solar Energy Policy ofsolar electrification has been reemphasized and the solar market is filled with more confidence to steer ahead with innovative utility products. While selling green energy solutions, she also sensitizes rural people about health hazards of carbon emissions from kerosene and wood and encourages them to shift to safe and smart options.
The Solar Sahelis make it simple and smooth on the ground. The Solar Saheli initiative has nurtured grassroots leaders who have also provided an income support to their families. Inspired by model followed by direct selling companies such as Mary Kay and Tupperware, the Solar Sahelis operate through their relationship networks and family members, friends and neighbours since they can best relate and explain utility of the products.
They receive a fixed commission on the sale of every product. Started in Julythere are now more than Solar Sahelis who are marketing, distributing and training for solar-powered products. The women point to a product called Unnat Chullah a type of cooking stove that has now become an indispensible part of their kitchens.Azuri Technologies is a commercial provider of PayGo solar systems to rural off-grid communities.
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In order to create your account we need you to provide your email address. Ajaita Shah is empowering women to spread solar energy through rural India.
Share Share Tweet Email. By Daniele Selby. July 27, She founded Frontier Markets, initially investing all her own savings. o Originated mainly in the rural south • Originally a light opera singer Represented hybrid form of hillbilly/TPA (Crossover hit) o Grand Ole Opry: important radio program for spreading country music o Most Hillbilly musicians not affected by recording ban.
Examine to what extent the international marketing of luxury brands from Europe has changed to adapt to the emerging markets, and consider the implications for future marketing of new product lines. 6.
Frontier Markets’ partnering is proving fruitful in its goal of spreading solar energy solutions in rural India.
The Government of India is being very supportive of Frontier Markets’ efforts, and in general, solar energy has become a massive initiative for the country; it’s a new part of the government agenda.
Frontier Markets (FM) is a rural marketing, sales, and service distribution company providing access to affordable and quality solar solutions to low-income households in India. Founded in , Frontier Markets uses its field staff to build the capacity of rural farmer retailers and rural women educate, relate, and reach households providing them access to high quality and affordable clean.