The Final 50 Miles: Using Village Level Entrepreneur networks for increasing clean energy access


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The VLE model is a decentralized local approach for addressing market based challenges in reaching out to rural areas. New Ventures reached out to the leading VLE networks and clean energy companies working with the VLE model to understand details of their operation.

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The Final 50 Miles: Using Village Level Entrepreneur networks for increasing clean energy access

  1. 1. The Last 50 Miles:UsingVLE networks for Increasing Clean Energy Access
  2. 2. Project supported by:
  3. 3. What areVLE NetworksGroups that work with local villagers to improve the access ofdifferent products across rural areasTypes ofVLE networks▪ General Purpose▪ Promotes and sells consumer goods and services.▪ Clean Energy Access▪ Promotes and sells clean energy goods and services.
  4. 4. MajorVLE Networks▪ General Purpose▪ Clean EnergyADHARAMENERGY
  5. 5. Geographical spread ofVLE networksGeographical spread of VLE networks across IndiaVLE India, TERIVLE India, ProjectDharma,TERI,BasixTERI, Sakhi, ProjectDharmaITC choupal, HULShaktiVLE India, Sakhi Retail,HUL Shakti, TERISKS, Project Dharma,VLE IndiaTERI, Basix,AdharamVillgro, Adharam,TERI, Basix
  6. 6. General PurposeVLE models
  7. 7. Basix IndiaHeadquarters New Delhi (VLE Project)Founders Dr.Vijay MahajanNumber ofVLEs 3000 (Additional 4000 over the next 6 months)States Operational Meghalaya,Tripura, Odisha and PunjabProducts & Services Common Services Centre partners (Pan card, RailwayTickets, Land Records)IndividualVLE Income State dependant. Odisha-Rs.1500/Punjab andMaharashtra- Rs. 5000 plus (Monthly)
  8. 8. VLE IndiaHeadquarters Pune (Maharashtra)Founders Girish Lad and Amin ShaikhNumber ofVLEs 600 (Expanding to 1400 by mid next year)States Operational Maharashtra, UP, Bihar, Uttrakhand, MP, Haryana ,Rajasthan ,Orissa and KarnatakaProducts & Services Mobile /DTH Recharge, General insurance, SchoolEducation eLearning, Booking tickets .IndividualVLE Income Rs. 3500 – 8000 (Monthly)
  9. 9. NewVentures India FieldVisit:Jhajjar-Haryana (VLE India)Solar Product being retailed Products and Services being offered byVLE India
  10. 10. VillgroHeadquarters Chennai (Tamil Nadu)Founders Paul BasilNumber ofVLEs 10Villgro Stores with 6 staff each.Total 46VLEs on thenetworkStates Operational Tamil Nadu (Gobichettypalayam District)Products & Services Agri-products (Seeds, fertilizers and pesticides),Personal Care Products, CookstovesIndividualVLE Income Rs. 3000-5000 (Monthly)
  11. 11. Sakhi RetailHeadquarters Osmanabad (Maharashtra)Founders Prema GopalanNumber ofVLEs 1000 Sakhi’s reaching out to an estimated 4, 50,000consumersStates Operational Maharashtra (Osmanabad, Beed, Latur, Nanded,Solapur districts )Products & Services First Energy Oorja Stove,Thrimpact Solar Lantern, HULPureitIndividualVLE Income Rs. 2000-5000 (Monthly)
  12. 12. ITC- ChoupalHeadquarters Kolkata (West Bengal)Founders ITC Conglomerate InitiativeNumber ofVLEs •6,500 e-Choupal across 40,000 villages in 10 states.•25 Choupal Sagars (Multi Brand Agri Retail Store)States Operational Pan India (Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh andMaharashtra)Products & Services Agri-products (Seeds , Fertilizers), AgriculturalInformation Services (Best price for the product on adaily basis, weather information)IndividualVLE Income Rs. 6000 or more (Monthly)
  13. 13. Srei SahajHeadquarters KolkataCEO Sanjay Kumar Panigrahi (CEO)Number ofVLEs 20,000 +States Operational Tamil Nadu,Assam,West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, OdishaProducts & Services Common Services Centre partners (Pan card, RailwayTickets,Land Records)IndividualVLE income State dependant
  14. 14. What does theVLE network provide?VLE Network SupportBasix Training + Financial (Loans)VLE India Training +Technology (Inventory Software)Villgro Training + Credit ExtensionSakhi Retail Training + Company PartnershipsITC Choupal Training + Financial (Loan)+ Computer + SoftwareSrei Sahaj Training + Financial Support (Loan Facilitation) + Software
  15. 15. NewVentures FieldVisits:Jhajjar (Haryana) and Betul (M.P) (VLE India and Sagar Choupal)Cyber café doubling up as aVLEIndia CentreChoupal Sagaar (ITC)
  16. 16. Training provided byVLE networkVLE Network SupportBasix Trained on the software. Multiple training sessions conducted.VLE India Trained on software. Single session. Sessions on product trainingdone by companies.Villgro Trained on product promotion. Multiple sessionsSakhi Retail Company training on product pitch. Single session.ITC Choupal Trained on software and products. Multiple sessionsSrei Sahaj Trained on software and services. Multiple sessions
  17. 17. NewVentures FieldVisits:Operations in Jhajjar and BetulAmin in discussion with theVLEVLE using theVLE India trackingsoftwareITC Sanchalak in Betul with thecomputer provided to him
  18. 18. Clean energy accessVLE models
  19. 19. Project DharmaHeadquarters New DelhiFounders Gaurav MehtaNumber ofVLEs 400States Operational Maharashtra, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and KarnatakaProducts & Services Solar Lights, Cookstoves,Water Purifiers and Daily UseItems (multiple brands under each category)IndividualVLE Income Rs. 3000 onwards (Monthly)
  20. 20. TERI LaBLHeadquarters New DelhiFounders Tata Group under JRD (LaBL project by Dr.Pachauri)Number ofVLEs 5000States Operational Across 22 states in IndiaProducts & Services Solar lights (multiple brands) and Solar ChargingStationsIndividualVLE Income Rs. 2100-4300 (Monthly)
  21. 21. Adharam EnergyHeadquarters Sevaiyoor (Tamil Nadu)Founders B Jeyabala MuruganNumber ofVLEs 600States Operational Tamil NaduProducts & Services First Energy Oorja CookstovesIndividualVLE Income Rs.5000 (Monthly)
  22. 22. What does theVLE network provide?VLE Network SupportProject Dharma Training + Product PartnershipsTERI Labl Training + Financial(Grants) + Product PartnershipsAdharam Energy Training + Product Partnerships
  23. 23. Training Support forVLE (Clean Energy)VLE Network SupportProject Dharma Training on products in local language. Multiple sessionsTERI Labl Training on product servicing and marketing. Setting up ofcharging stations. Multiple sessions in local language.Adharam Energy Trainings in partnership with product companies.
  24. 24. Best Practices inVLE training manual design▪ TERI LaBL▪ Manual in local languages across the country.▪ The manual is customized from a base version to suit the context ofthe state.▪ D.Light Design▪ Orange Book for Local Dealers.▪ Includes sections onWhy’s ,What’s ,Do’s and Don’ts .▪ Available in multiple languages.
  25. 25. Experience of Product Companiesin usingVLE channels▪ D.light Design and Srei Sahaj + Project Dharma▪ D.light partners Project Dharma across Bihar and Orissa.▪ D.light has setup a new partnership with Government of India’sVLE network SreiSahaj▪ TheVLE networks manages sales and promotion of the product while D.lightmanages the after sales service.▪ Nuru Energy and BASIX▪ Nuru Energy partnered with Basix to use itsVLE channel across Orissa.▪ Pilot partnership (Did not scale up because of the MFI crisis)▪ D.light Design and SKS MFI▪ Pilot Partnership (Did not scale up because of the MFI crisis)
  26. 26. Challenges for General PurposeVLEs in promoting clean energy products▪ Identifying and convincing the more enterprisingVLEs within a network▪ About 25-30 percentVLEs in a network are product sales oriented▪ Understanding the clean energy product type▪ SHS, Solar Lanterns, Cookstoves (Forced, Natural) (VLE India, Basix andVillgro)▪ Identifying the market for clean energy product▪ Understanding income and consumption patterns across rural India▪ Financially packaging the clean energy product▪ Identifying price points and developing loan product (Villgro, Sakhi Retail)▪ Identifying the after sales network for the product▪ Building credibility by servicing the product (Villgro and Basix)
  27. 27. Challenges for Clean EnergyVLE Networks▪ Product quality assessment▪ Assessing the quality of the clean energy product that they will retail using the network▪ Trade Finance▪ Funding theVLEs in the network to stock products.▪ Identifying financial partners to bundle the product.▪ Identifying regional rural banks and MFIs who can support localVLE networks.▪ Marketing the product.▪ Convincing the consumer about the benefits of the product▪ After sales network for the product▪ Creating an after sales network for servicing the product
  28. 28. Proprietary networks:Greenlight PlanetHeadquarters Mumbai (Maharashtra)Founders Mayank Sekhsaria, AnishThakkar and PatrickWalshNumber ofVLEs 1500 SaathisStates Operational Odisha and BiharProducts & Services Solar LanternsNetwork Support Product education and sales training supportIndividualVLE Income Rs.3000 (Monthly)
  29. 29. Proprietary networks:Nuru EnergyHeadquarters New DelhiFounders Sameer Hajee, BarryWhitmill, SimonTremeerNumber ofVLEs 3 partners and 10VLEsStates Operational Odisha and BiharProducts & Services Solar LanternsNetwork Support Product education and sales training supportIndividualVLE Income Rs.500 to Rs.1000 (Monthly)
  30. 30. Practices of the proprietaryVLE vehicles▪ Focus on product education▪ VLEs trained about the product▪ Focus on product promotion techniques▪ VLEs taught how to use the product themselves so that they can promote itbetter▪ Training focused on servicing the product▪ Basic training is given to theVLEs so that they can service the products.
  31. 31. Experience of Micro Grid Playersin usingVLE channels▪ Operator models are not usingVLE networks.▪ Example: Mera Gao Power (Moved off theVLE model)▪ Initially usedVLE channels for collection of revenue and maintenance ofsystems .▪ VLEs faced difficulty in collection.▪ Moved off the model as MGP wanted more control over the network.▪ Build andTransfer Model are usingVLE networks▪ Example: Minda Group (Actively pursuing theVLE model)▪ Selling units directly to individualVLEs.
  32. 32. Best Practices in usingVLE for clean energy access▪ Understanding theTarget Market▪ VLE India , Greenlight Planet use census data▪ Staff recruited locally to understand the context of a region▪ Training theVLE▪ TERI Labl has a unique training program that it is customised to suit the contextof the state and the village.▪ TERI works with local partners, ranging from private organisations, civilsocieties, NGOs etc to do so.
  33. 33. Best Practices in usingVLE for clean energy access▪ Financial Institution Partnerships▪ MFIs such as Basix has the expertise of financially bundling a higher ticket priceproduct to match the rural market better▪ OtherVLE networks face significant challenges when it comes to such FIpartnerships▪ Marketing and Promotion of the clean energy product▪ Greenlight Planet and Nuru Energy being proprietary networks have a strategyand budget to promote the product.▪ Use of visual media, pop up kiosks, banners, t-shirts etc adds to the incentive.
  34. 34. Retaining theVLE in network▪ MostVLE networks need to find innovative ways to retain theVLE in their fold.Some of the methods used to do so are:▪ VLE India offers incentives such as awards, promotion, credit worthiness andpublic acknowledgement▪ Villgro also offers credit based on performance▪ Basix provides loan support to theVLE so that the activity becomes incomegenerating in the long term.▪ TERI LaBL provides financial support and training toVLEs. In case theVLEsmove on,TERI identifies back upVLEs who can take charge of the centres.
  35. 35. VLE Software▪ MostVLE networks have their proprietary software with the typical functions being:▪ TypicalVLE software functions:▪ Small CRM system (Records information on users).▪ Inventory Management▪ Registration for Government Services▪ ITC system provides specific services such as:▪ 2on agri-produce market rates,▪ Weather updates▪ Agri-best practices.
  36. 36. VLE support company:ArtooHeadquarters Bangalore (Karnataka)Founders Sameer SegalProducts & Services Software to supportVLEs in field operations.Pricing •Volume based pricing for large clients (100+ field agents):INR 700 per month per agent•Flat fee for small clients (< 100 field agents): INR 35,000-INR 50,000 per month.•Additionally, Artoo has partnered with Dell and Samsung toprovide the devices on a pay per use model (INR 1500 permonth).
  37. 37. Way forward▪ The ideal way of takingVLE networks and clean energy companies partnership tothe next level is by helping each of the parties understand each other better.▪ Some of the specific ways to achieve the same will be:▪ Partnership facilitation with the leading clean energy companies across thecountry using Linkedin and the NewVenturesWebsite.▪ VLE best practices report.▪ Referral to the and funding proposal to set up aVLEnetwork
  38. 38. Annex: District wise break up ofVLE networks
  39. 39. States with district wise break up ofVLE networksVLE Network State DistrictBasix CSCPan India:Key States: Maharashtra, Meghalaya,Tripura and OdishaNashik, Nandurbar, Dhule, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar(Maharashtra) East-West Khasi Jaintia Hills,East-WestGaro, Ri-Bhoi (Meghalaya) Ganjam, Gajpati, Rayagada,Phulbani (Odisha) Dhalai, North-South TripuraVLE India7 states overall:Key States: Maharashtra and HaryanaNashk, Nanded, Latur, Solapur (Maharashtra) Jhajjar(Haryana)Sakhi Retail Tamil Nadu GobichettypalayamAdharam Energy Tamil Nadu SevaiyoorTERI Pan India 23 states and multiple districtsProject DharmaMaharashtra, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh andKarnataka21 districts in Maharashtra, 6 districts in Bihar, 3 districts inUttar Pradesh.
  40. 40. States with district wise break up ofVLE networksVLE Network State DistrictSrei SahajAssam,Odisha,West Bengal,Bihar andTamil NaduAssam (Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Golaghat,Jorhat, Lakhimpur,Tinsukia, Kokrajhar, Nalbari, Udalgur etc.) Bihar (Araria,Begusarai, Bhojpur ,Bhabua,Nalanda ,Patna, Rohtas,Magadh,Gaya,Jehanabad ,Nawada, East Champaran etc.)Odisha (Nayagarh ,Khurda, Puri ,Cuttack, Sambalpur,Sonepur, Bolangir, Malkangiri, Koraput, Nabarangpur,Nuapada etc.)Tamil Nadu (Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri,Thiruvannamalai,Vellore) Uttar Pradesh (Gorakhpur, Hardoi,Lucknow, Mahrajganj , Rai Bareli,Allahabad ,Varanasi etc)West Bengal (Darjeeling ,Jalpaiguri , Murshidabad, Mednipur,Burdwan, 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Bankura, Birbhum)ITC- choupal Pan India All states and multiple districtsHUL- Shakti Pan India: Multiple districts
  41. 41. Annex: List of solar product types
  42. 42. Solar LanternTypesCompanyProductCategoriesProductType SpecificationMobileChargingd.light Design S250 SolarLantern1.3W poly crystalline solar panelNiMH Battery of 6V, 1.3 Ah4 brightnesssettings with 50,000-hours of LED lifeYesS10 SolarLantern0.3 watt poly crystalline solar panelRechargeable Battery: NiMH 3.6V 350 mAHNoS1 SolarLantern1 Light Intensity/ 4 Hours of Lighting @ FullChargeNoGreenlight Planet Sun King Solo SolarLantern130 Lumens Per Watt, 5Years Battery Life, 700mW Solar Panel ,Battery Capacity: 1000 mAhYesSun King Pro SolarLantern120 Lumens Per Watt, 5 years Battery Life, 7.8V Polycrystalline 2.5W Solar Module, BatteryCapacity : 1450 mAhYes
  43. 43. Solar LanternTypesSolid Solar SS 1009 Solar Lantern 2Watt system, 1 LED, Battery 6V-4.5 Ah,6V-3Wp solar panelYesSS-1014 Solar Lantern 3Watt system, 12 LEDs, Battery 6V-4.5 Ah,6V-3Wp solar panelYesSS-1020 Solar Lantern 7Watt system, CFL, Battery 12V-7 Ah, 12V-10Wp solar panelNoSS-1021 Solar Lantern 3Watt system, 3 LEDs, Battery 6V-4.5 Ah,6V-3Wp solar panelNoNuru Energy NL 1 Solar Lantern 11 lumens LED, Battery: Rechargeable NiMH(3 x AAA in package) , 3.6 volts DC , 740milliamp hoursNoPower Cycle Solar Charging Unit Power output of 50W/ Can charge 6 NuruLights simultaneouslyNo
  44. 44. Solar Home SystemTypesSolid Solar SS-5001 Solar Home Pack One 9W CFL, 50W 12V Solar Panel, 60Ah BatteryYesSS-5002 Solar Home Pack 3 LED of 3W each, 10W 12V Solar Panel,12V 7 Ah SMFYesDuron Energy Breeze Solar Home Pack 2 No 1.5W LEDs, 6 W Fan, 15-watt solarpanel, Energy capacity 48WHYesLite Solar Home Pack 3 No 1.5W LEDs, 15-watt solar panel,Energy capacity 34 WHYesOrb Energy Solelectric 15 Solar Home Pack 2 Lights 1.5 W each, 5 W solar panel,12.8V 3 Ah batteryYesSolelectric 30 Solar Home Pack 4 Lights 1.5 W each, 5 W solar panel,12.8V 3 Ah batteryYes
  45. 45. Solar Home SystemTypesSELCO Compact 1 Light Solar Home Pack Solar Home Pack with 1 Light @ 10W and 10 Ah BatteryYesCompact 2 Light Solar Home Pack Solar Home Pack with 2 Light @ 10W solar panel and 10 Ah BatteryYesCompact 4 Light Solar Home Pack Solar Home Pack with 1 Light @ 18W solar panel and 20 Ah BatteryYesCompact 2 Combo Solar Home Pack Solar Home Pack with 2 Light @ 12W solar panel and 15 Ah BatteryYesPremium 4 Light Solar Home Pack Solar Home Pack with 4 Light @ 40W solar panel and 60 Ah BatteryYesPremium 6 Light Solar Home Pack Solar Home Pack with 6 Light @ 60W solar panel and 80 Ah BatteryYesPremium Fan Combo Solar Home Pack Solar Home Pack with 3 Light and 1Fan @ 50W and 80 Ah BatteryYes
  46. 46. Annex: Contact Details
  47. 47. VLE NetworksVLE NetworksVillgro Villgro Innovations Foundation3rd Floor, IIT Madras Research Park,Kanagam Road, Taramani,(Behind Tidel Park, on Old Mahabalipuram Road),Chennai - 600113.Phone: 91-44- 66630400VLE India VLE India, Magnum Opus IT Consulting Pvt. Ltd.52, CINEMAX , 1st Flr, Ghod Bunder Road, Opp. to Kapur Bawadi Bus Stand, Thane (w).Frontier Markets Delhi Corp Office: Regus, Level 2, Jasola Dist Center, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110025Jaipur Head Office: D-52 City Vijay Point, Ahinsa Circle, C-Scheme, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302015Sakhi Retail Sakhi Retail Pvt.LtdGround flr, Taluka Shikshaak Society Patsanstha building,Samta Colony, Samta Nagar, Osmanabad-413 501 (India)Ph:02472 226309 Cell: 9422557520Email:,
  48. 48. VLE NetworksS3idf Small Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Development FundNo. 700, Ground Floor15th Cross, 24th MainJ P Nagar 2nd PhaseBangalore – 560078, IndiaPHONE:+91 (0)80-65902558 or +91 (0)80-26594880Project Dharma Project Dharma, GAJAM India Private Ltd.2nd Floor, R9A Nehru Enclave, Nehru Place, New Delhi, 110019.Tel: +91 11 4101 8858Email: India BASIX, D 9, First Floor,Greater Kailash Enclave – I,New Delhi 110 0 48.Ph: 011 4173 0252 , 011 4173 0454Srei Sahaj Sahaj e-Village Limited , Mirania Garden, Plot No # 4310/B, Topsia Road (East), Kolkata - 700046Phone: +91-33-6602 3282 / 3051, Fax: +91-33-6602 3094email :
  49. 49. VLE NetworksTERI LaBL Darbari Seth Block, IHC Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi - 110 003,Tel. (+91 11) 2468 2100 and 41504900Fax (+91 11) 2468 2144 and 2468 2145mailbox@teri.res.inITC Choupal ITC LIMITED,37 J.L.Nehru Road,Kolkata - 700071,West Bengal, IndiaPh: +91-33-22889371E-mail - webmaster@itc.inHUL Project Shakti Hindustan Unilever Limited,Unilever House,B. D. Sawant Marg,Chakala, Andheri (E),Mumbai - 400 099.Tel : +91-22-39830000Adharam Energy Address: 18-C/11 Kennet Cross Road, MADURAI 628016, TAMIL NADUTel: 91 4522602790
  50. 50. Clean Energy Access Companiesd.light DesignIndia OfficeCL House, T-95Fourth Floor, Gautam NagarNew Delhi, 110049, IndiaTel: +91 (0)11 4315 6700Greenlight PlanetGreenlight Planet India Pvt. Ltd.Mathuradas Mill CompoundNM Joshi Marg, Lower ParelMumbai 400013 IndiaTel: +91 22 49 111 555Solid SolarE-245, Grater Kailash, Part-II, New Delhi -110 048 Solar Power Plant : +91 9310141990 / +91 9310141982gogreen@gautampolymers.comDuron Energy3rd floor, No. 50, Zatakia CenterAbove Reliance Footprint100 ft Road, IndiranagarBangalore, Karnataka – 560 038India, Telephone: +91 80 4347 9393
  51. 51. Clean Energy Access CompaniesOrb Energy No. 12, Srigandhada Kavalu, Sunkadakatte, Magadi Road, Bengaluru - 560 091, Karnataka, IndiaSELCOSELCO Solar Light (P) Ltd.#742, 15th Cross, 6th Phase, J P NagarBangalore – 560078, India.Tel: +91-80-266-545-09Nuru EnergyNuru Energy Pvt. Ltd (India)Email: India@nuruenergy.comEnvirofitHemant Shree Apartment, Survey No. 47/B, Flat No. 202, Off Paud Road, Near Paranjape Gloria,BavdhanKhurd, Pune - 411021Telephone: +91-020-71800200Fax: +91-020-71800211First Energy OorjaFirst Energy Pvt LtdAddress: Office No. B-101 to B-105, First Floor, B-Wing, Signet Corner, S.No-134, Baner, PuneTel: +91-20-67210500 / +91-8605000602Greenway Grameen InfraGreenway Grameen Infra Pvt. Ltd301, Chawla ComplexSector 15, CBD BelapurNavi Mumbai 400614Tel: +91 2241239169, +91 09833319269