ECCA/Future Now

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Overview

Developing the Nepalese solar lantern market

 

Overview

Headquarters: Kathmandu, Nepal
Established: 1987
Impact Areas: Nepal
Type: Nonprofit
Energy Sectors:
Business Model Types:
Staff Size: 23
Annual Budget: ECCA: US$391,000, FutureNow: US$45,000
Major Funders: World Bank, Global Giving donors
Awards: 2005: World Bank Development Marketplace,
2007: Tech Museum of Innovation Award
2008: Santa Clara Global Social Benefit Incubator,

 

ABOUT

ECCA introduced the Solar Tuki, the first inexpensive solar lantern available in Nepal, and played a large role in the overall introduction of solar lanterns in Nepal.

 

Energy Products/Services

Target Market

  • Originally Nepalis too poor to buy solar home systems, now expanding.

 

ECCA/FUTURE NOW

Revenue Streams

  • Sale of Solar Tuki lanterns and other energy products
  • Grants and donations

Value Proposition

  • ECCA (Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness) is a non-profit organization focused on the wise use of environmental resources in Nepal.
  • ECCA’s Solar Tuki program was a means of giving poor Nepalis access to a cleaner, healthier alternative to kerosene.
  • The popularity of ECCA’s 2.5w White LED system put pressure on the Nepali government to start subsidizing cheaper, smaller lanterns.
  • Their successful penetration of the market (along with lowered input costs) helped bring in competition and lanterns are now cheaply available all over Nepal.
  • ECCA sells its lanterns through village women’s groups, who oversee credit and maintenance.
  • ECCA has created a for-profit trading company, Future Now, which manages lantern production, and has diversified its energy offerings as competition for the lanterns has arrived.

Problem Addressed

  • When ECCA started selling the Solar Tuki in 2004, there was very little availability of small solar lanterns.
  • The government was selling US$500 35W solar home systems, but these were too expensive for poorer customers, even with subsidies.

Where They Are Now

Impact to Date

  • Over 130,000 Solar Tuki lamps sold through ECCA and other organizations
  • Helped test and develop market to create widespread availability of low-cost solar lanterns in Nepal.

Milestones

  • 2004: Solar Tuki program established
  • 2005: Won World Bank Development Marketplace
  • 2007: Created private company- Future Now Private Ltd., specifically to produce lamps
  • 2008: Other projects and organizations started selling ECCA’s Tuki
  • 2009: Nepali government devised policy to subsidize smaller systems

Growth Plan

  • As competition has increased, ECCA’s sale of Tukis in Nepal has gone down.
  • ECCA is now starting now to sell other products, such as larger solar home systems with a 5-10W panel and 4-8 LEDs ($70), and improved cookstoves
  • ECCA is now helping other organizations develop production and sale of Tukis elsewhere in the world, including a current project in El Salvador.

How They Deliver

Product Sourcing

  • ECCA’s lamp is produced by its own trading company, FutureNow Pvt. Ltd, which imports parts from Taiwan and China, and assembles in Nepal.

Distribution

  • ECCA sells the Solar Tuki primarily through village womens’ groups, who receive a $5 commission on the $50 price.
  • ECCA trains these groups to maintain the lamps, and supports them if they can’t fix them.
  • Since 2008, ECCA has also been selling through other organizations and projects.

Financing

  • ECCA is a grant-supported nonprofit and FutureNow is a private company with shareholders.
  • Capital for initial expansion of the project came from the World Bank Development Marketplace, but since then the program has been able to run off the sale of inventory, with some donor funding supporting subsidized sales.

Revenue & Affordability

  • While ECCA’s product started out as a low-cost alternative to solar home systems, the entry of competition has put it in the higher end of the solar lantern market.
  • ECCA has refused to reduce prices by compromising on quality.  Its lamp costs $50, as opposed to some Chinese models which can be bought for $20.
  • To increase affordability, ECCA has used its non-profit village connections to work with a development bank to sell to villagers on credit, with the village sales group managing the loans.
  • Villagers pay the cost back over 6-12 months, which matches the $5/month they currently spend on kerosene, but ECCA is able to receive the money upfront from the bank.
  • ECCA is also now piloting a single charging station approach, allowing customers to buy their lamp without a solar panel for only $11 and charge it at a central point in their village.

More Resources

Online Resources

Contact Information

Wise-use House
Jwagol
Kopundol
Lalitpur
P. O. Box 9210
Kathmandu
Nepal

( +977 1 555 0452, 555 3870
* ecca@mos.com.np