Module 2 - Case Studies addresses both enterprises (individual for-profit and not-for-profit companies and initiatives) and programs (through organizations like UNEP, UNDP or USAID). There are business success stories like Red Ceramics in Bolivia, Zara Solar in Tanzania and La Esperanza in Honduras in addition to some less-than-successful examples. In each case we identify what worked and the lessons learned. You will also find the "stories" of various program, project and policy efforts such as FENERCA earlier this decade, E+Co since 1994 and the biogas program in Nepal that has had such an impact on household energy there.

This module is meant to be open-ended and OPINIONATED, with examples and commentary added over time by users.



Soluz

Barefoot College

N.R. Utility

AREED

ESDP/RERED
Zara Solar

Toyola

C. Charcoal

MFP

GVEP International
La Esperanza

Tecnosolar

Biogas Sector Partnership

LPG - Ghana


Red Ceramics

K. Charcoal

FENERCA

E+Co


Comprehensive chart



1. Soluz actually refers to two renewable energy companies, one in Honuduras and one in the Dominican Republic. Aiming to revolutionize the solar PV market by offering customers the option of renting the systems, both companies encountered some unanticipated difficulties and failed to reach their full potential.

2. Zara Solar, in Tanzania, began as a electrical appliance business in Mwanza. Mohammed and Mona, husband and wife entrepreneurs, and Zara Solar illustrate the importance of step-by-step planning and implementation. Studying their example shows the importance of incremental steps and capitalization. Their first round of financing facilitated market entry; their second, some economies of scale through larger borrowing. But it wasn't until the third round that Zara achieved a level of performance that became self-sustaining growth.

3. La Esperanza, one of the world's first small scale carbon monetization projects, began as a kilowatt scale project that made use of a defunct installation. It shows a number of things: the power of multi-phase planning; the involvement and inclusion of local community; the importance of power sale and interconnection arrangements and policy; and, most important, the vision and tenacity of an entrepreneur.

4. Red Ceramics, outside of La Paz, tells a story of a deal that had many opportunities to fail. It is the story of a brick makers' association whose members were using antiquated methods and disgusting fuels to produce an inferior product. By exploring Red Ceramics we explore several issues: the power of a community of interests (thirty of forty members of the association) coming together to realize their goals; the resiliency of that same community when faced with adversity and the need for flexibility during such times; and, lastly, the importance of land tenure. While the front-story explains the replacement of used motor oil and sawdust with natural gas it is the back-story that informs how community-based development can be pursued.

5. Barefoot College has pioneered an approach to provide practical solar engineering training to individuals regardless of educational background or even language. The college also seeks to ensure that these individuals then extend service to their communities rather than becoming part of the so-called brain drain. Is this the right approach, or should more effort be made to empower trainees to grow their own businesses?

6. Toyola, a cookstove company in Ghana, began with an artisan technical training program. In the hands of two entrepreneurs, Suraj and Ernest, we see how basic training can be refined, disaggregated, decentralized and turned into a low-cost, mass produced product. The story shows in what circumstances capacity building can lead to entrepreneurship which can lead to capitalization which can result in the creation of numerous jobs and a reduction in carbon intensity.

7. Tecnosolar is a 10-year old clean energy company in El Salvador that started trying to sell solar home systems on credit to relatively poor, unelectrified households. Though their intial market strategy ultimately proved untenable due to forces beyond Tecnosolar's control, the company persisted, insistent on finding ways to stay operational, and moved into slightly different niches.

8. K. Charcoal, in Southern Africa, took scrap wood and created charcoal. An ideal market, a good technology, great social and environmental benefits. What went wrong?

9. N.R. Utility was a pioneering company in Southern Africa that appeared to have all the needed components well organized: a franchise for solar electrification, solid products and a strong entrepreneur, an R&D outlook that would lower costs and improve performance, financial partners... Yet it failed. Why? Because the Program-Policy-Subsidy support around which much of their business had been planned evaporated unexpectedly. This left the company trying to install systems without the subsidy promised by the government. N.R. supplies an excellent case of what can go wrong even with the best of plans and implementation.

10. C. Charcoal set out to tackle the problems caused Brazil's super-intensive charcoal industries (ie steel mills, cement factories) by providing a more sustainably harvested and efficiently produced source of charcoal. At the time, Brazil was the largest producer of charcoal in the world and there seemed to be no shortage of opportunities to sell either, but a less than full understanding of the market dynamics led to C. Charcoal closing their operations.

11. Biogas Support Program-Nepal is now in its second decade, having shown in Nepal (and more recently in Bangladesh and SE Asia) the potential of a technology and policy push combined with and enterprise push (the latter being lighter than the other two). BSP provides ample evidence of the need for standards and quality control, subsidy and end-user finance. It illustrates a program approach with great potential and serves as a counter-point in some respects to the multi-function platform.

12. FENERCA began as a USAID Central American program to provide business planning and capacity building services. It illustrates the importance of coupling such services with sources of capital even though FENERCA itself did not do so.

13. AREED was a joint program of UNEP, UN Foundation, a set of African NGOs and a specialized energy enterprise investor. It institutionalized, perhaps for the first time within a UN program context, the services plus capital enterprise model, combining what was learned in FENERCA with an additional policy dimension. AREED teaches the potential and the difficulty of multi-party partnerships, especially ones involving a mission re-orientation, and the essential nature of an alignment of interests.

14. Multi-function Platform, better known as MFP, is a UNDP initiative coupling a diesel engine with various agro-industrial activities such as husking or chopping. It illustrates a donor-driven, technology-oriented model of implementation and the requirements of converting such a model to a self-replicating one. It shows the power of community buy-in and participation but also the risks of sub-optimal utilization.

15. LPG-Ghana is an example of a "policy push" that was aimed at displacing the use of wood and charcoal through a promotion and cross-subsidy of LPG. It shows the difficulties of migrating such a program beyond its natural urban, concentrated areas and the leakage potential of such a policy when vehicles adapted gasoline powered engines to run on LPG (an unintended consequence). It further illustrates the importance of incentives that recognizes different objectives (distance for example) and the need for a strong enterprise push to complement the policy and technology parts of the triangle.

16. E+Co provides services and capital to energy enterprises, demonstrating the importance of intermediary organizations specializing in the business plans and needs of energy enterprises. Though in some ways superficially familiar to microfinance and project finance, and the same size a small and growing businesses, energy enterprises and their intermediaries have very different needs. These needs emanate from the low margin, longer term nature of the business models (versus shorter term, more trade oriented SMEs), the larger size of transactions (versus MFIs) and the lack of traditional project or corporate fianance collateral and security arrangements. E+Co illustrates that this service and capital provision is, of itself, a niche warranting attention if the goal of increasing energy access through local enterprises, is to be realized. http://www.eandco.net

17. ESDP/RERED - Two programs spanning 10 years of small hydro promotion in Sri Lanka. A third, additional financing for RERED, began in 2008. Widely recognized as successful case of a government, donors and private developers working together to achieve environmentally friendly, cost-effective rural electrification - can the model be replicated elsewhere?

18. GVEP International works with local businesses in developing countries to increase access to modern energy and to improve the quality of lives for thousands of people. Its largest programmes fosus on providing technical and financial assistance to micro, small and medium enterprises in Africa.
http://www.gvepinternational.org/


No.
Case
Location
Technology Type
Energy Services
Entity Type
Type of analysis
Supporting Materials
Notes
1
Soluz
Dominican Republic, Honduras
Solar PV
Lighting, other electrical
Private business, fee-for-service
Profile
Navigant Report

2
Zara Solar
Tanzania
Solar PV
Lighting, other electrical
Private business, retail
Profile
Intro sheet

3
La Esperanza
Honduras
Hydro
Electricity provision to the grid
Independent power producer
Profile
Intro sheet

4
Red Ceramics
Bolivia
Natural gas connections
Brick kilns
Trade Association
Profile
Intro sheet

5
Barefoot College
India
Solar PV
Lighting, other electrical
NGO/school
Overview and discussion
Various articles

6
Toyola
Ghana
Jiko-type charcoal stoves
Cooking
Private business, manufacture and retail
(.ppt) E-C
Intro sheet

7
Tecnosolar
El Salvador
Solar PV, solar thermal, small scale wind
Lighting, other electrical, water heating
Private business,
retail, larger gov't/donor contracts
Profile
Intro sheet

8
K. Charcoal
Zambia
Improved charcoal kilns
Efficient charcoal production
Private business, production
Profile
Intro sheet

9
N.R. Utility
South Africa
Solar PV
Lighting, other electrical
Quasi-utility
Profile
Intro sheet, other

10
C. Charcoal
Brazil
Improved charcoal kilns
Efficient charcoal production
Private business, production and wholesale
Profile
Intro sheet

11
BSP
Nepal
Biogas
Cooking, lighting
Gov't program
(.ppt) E-P-T
Mendis & Van Nes, Bajgain & Shakya reports

12
FENERCA
Central America, Brazil, Africa
Various
Various
Donor program
Profile
Final evaluation documents

13
AREED
Africa
Various
Various
Donor program
Profile
Final evaluation documents

14
MFP
Africa
Diesel motor with agro-industrial attachments
Agro-
processing,
water pumping,
electricity
Joint gov't + donor program
Profile
Various evaluation documents

15
LPG Ghana
Ghana
LPG and associated accessories
cooking
Gov't policy
Profile
Workshop materials, UPPF, other

16
E+Co
US
Various
Various
Financial intermediary
Profile
Overview Manual
Overview .ppt

17
ESDP/RERED
Sri Lanka
Small hydro
Grid and mini/off-grid electrification
Gov't + donor program with robust private sector involvement
In-depth report
Bibliographic materials

18
GVEP International
Africa and Latin America
Various
Access to energy
Private business, manufacture, production and retail
Profile
Intro sheet