Focus on OPIC Impact Award winners: Simpa Energy India Ltd.
When you expand access to energy, you expand access to opportunity. That was the founding premise of Simpa Energy India Ltd., a provider of solar-as-a-service in rural India, which OPIC recognized May 19 with an Impact Award recognizing excellence in development, in the renewable energy category.
Simpa was one of seven OPIC clients honored with Impact Awards last week and as the recipient of a $3 million OPIC loan, Simpa illustrates how a small amount of financing can go a long way in improving the lives of people in the developing world.
Simpa is helping provide a clean source of electricity to some of the 400 million people in India who live in remote villages that are not grid-connected. The company, which is a subsidiary of Simpa Networks Inc. of Seattle, developed pay-as-you-go solar systems, modeled after pre-paid mobile phones, that are easy to install and affordable to even the poorest households. OPIC’s $3 million loan is helping the company expand its customer base from 5,000 to a target of more than 40,000 – enabling farmers to be more productive, shops to stay open longer, children to study in the evening, and whole communities to remain vibrant even after the sun sets.
Simpa President and Co-Founder Paul Needham accepted the award and described how he saw firsthand how the quality of life improved dramatically when home solar kits were introduced.
Needham also outlined the multiple challenges of introducing solar power in India and explained why the sheer size of the need necessitated a scalable commercial model. In this interview before the awards ceremony, Needham explained how OPIC financing provided critical early stage support
As the recipient of the Impact Award for Renewable Energy, Simpa is helping advance a key OPIC initiative. OPIC’s commitments to renewable energy have increased ten times since 2009 and partners like Simpa have helped ensure that this work in renewable energy reaches remote populations as well as those communities located closer to central grids.