Clean energy and micro infrastructure for rural villages in developing countries

by Village Infrastructure Angels Australia

(Business)

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VIA invests in poverty-alleviating micro infrastructure projects in rural villages of developing countries via 1-5 year loans.

Project implemented: 2012 - ongoing

Project goal

VIA's goal is to help 1 million people gain access to sustainable micro infrastructure within 10 years (by 2022).

delivering on

why is this project important?

Australian entrepreneurs can tap into new multi-billion dollar cleantech markets while helping our neighbours develop.

Key steps to make it happen

1Identify needs

Show communities what technologies exist to help reduce fossil fuel use and maximize local renewables, and quantify demand.

2Mobilize tech and dollars

Create project investment descriptions to mobilize public/private capital to fund it, and fill technology gaps if some exist.

3Install and train

Order equipment, streamline logistics, import and install the equipment, and train local entrepreneurs on the business model.

4Monitor and evaluate

Monitor project performance, replace non-performing project partners and encourage best performers to improve sustainability.

5Rinse and repeat

Scale up pilot projects to larger break-even scale (10,000 households/country), using GIS mapping to plan universal access.

6Transfer assets

Once all project assets have been paid for, transfer these assets to the local entrepreneurs and either withdraw or repeat.

impact to date

5000
households reached

Almost total elimination of kerosene lamps, diesel mills and manual food-processing labour by women, saving tens of thousands of hours of work that can be used more productively, and reducing CO2 emissions and expenditure on imported fuels.

Dozens of entrepreneurs trained in productive use of renewable energy using world-first technologies, and enhanced micro business skills.

Apparently, our solar powered cassava grater even improved the taste of the national dishes of Vanuatu (laplap, tuluk and simboro)....! Next step, Masterchef....!

VIA has invested in solar powered lighting, milling, water pumping and refrigeration projects in Vanuatu, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Honduras, with expansion into the African market likely in 2019. These micro infrastructure projects, often less than 1kW per village, are usually bringing electricity to the village for the first time in their lives. VIA and its partners have developed new, world-first technologies like solar powered flour mills, rice hullers, corn shellers and coconut/cassava graters. VIA uses a blend of public finance and private finance to reduce risks of investing in such areas, and via a lease-purchase contract, transfers the assets to the village once it has been fully paid off. VIA also helps others in many countries to develop similar projects, with support mostly from outside Australia such as USAID, AFD, GSMA, IRENA, OPIC, GIZ, World Bank, Duke Energy, SIDA, IDB and SDC, but also from DFAT, Rotary Melbourne and a number of angel investors.

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