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Solar energy for poverty alleviation and a sustainable future



Headquarters: Washington, DC, USA
Established: 2009
Impact Areas: Pakistan
Type: Non-profit/NGO
Energy Sectors:
  • Power source: Solar Power
  • Power use: Off-grid lighting and electricity
Business Model Types:
  • Product Sourcing: Uniform Product, Outsourced Design, Foreign Production
  • Distribution: In-House Salespeople, Sales Through Partners, Existing Retail Channels
  • Affordability: In-House financing
  • Organization Financing: Grants and Donations, Loans
  • Scaling: New Entrepreneur Salespeople
  • Social Impact: Scope/Number Reached
Staff Size: 2 and 5 volunteer
Annual Budget: $37,000
Major Funders: ML Resources, crowdfunding
Awards: 2012: Santa Clara Global Social Benefit Incubator



Energy Products/Services

Target Market

  • 65 million Pakistanis who don’t have access to the electrical grid, and spend $3—$10 per month on kerosene or battery-powered flashlights.


Eco Energy Finance

Revenue Streams

Value Proposition

  • EcoEnergy will provide solar energy solutions to Pakistan’s rural poor for the same price they are paying now (for kerosene), focused completely on last-mile distribution.
  • The team at EcoEnergy is very interested in building the right product mix, based on customer feedback after testing. This ensures that the products offered will meet the needs of the typical customer.
  • EcoEnergy has a very strong team with extensive cultural familiarity and experience distributing solar lanterns in Pakistan.
  • With a self-sustaining business model, not limited to maximizing profit, EcoEnergy is able to re-invest its profits into operations. This allows for a true focus on social impact.
  • As the only mover in Pakistan on rural solar lighting, EcoEnergy believes it has a unique opportunity to tap into the $3.9 billion market.

Problem Addressed

  • In 2010, Pakistan was hit with devastating flooding that impacted 20 million people. This gave rise to government refugee camps that were unlit at night. A pitch black, densely populated camp creates significant safety issues. Health clinics couldn’t be open at night to continue treatment for malaria and diarrhea, and women in these camps were getting raped.
  • 44% of the population in Pakistan is living off the grid, with about 81% in rural areas.
  • A World Bank survey indicates that 30-45% of rural households in Pakistan use kerosene as a primary or secondary source of lighting

Where They Are Now

Impact to Date

  • 5,095 people living in homes with clean light
  • 1,000 lanterns distributed to flood victims
  • 19 lanterns sold by first entrepreneur with demand for 320 more


  • 2010 Raised $24k, distributed 1000 solar lanterns and 12 solar home systems.
  • 2011 Raised $27k to fund pilot project systems
  • 2012 Initiated entrepreneur distribution network

Growth Plan

  • 2013 Four active entrepreneurs, 3,000 solar lanterns sold
  • 2014 Seven active entrepreneurs, 4,200 solar lanterns sold
  • 2016 Become cash flow positive

How They Deliver

Product Sourcing

  • EcoEnergy sources its products from external designers and manufacturers, like Nokero and Greenlight Planet.
  • Currently, EcoEnergy is testing three solutions over a range of price points: $12, $20, and $48. The higher end product also includes a mobile phone charger. This product has been selling the best, despite its relatively high cost.
  • The most successful product mix will be identified after the testing phase is complete.


  • EcoEnergy focuses exclusively on last-mile distribution, as a product-agnostic company.
  • Their distribution model is a mix of three channels: entrepreneurs based out of rural villages, NGO partners, and existing retailer networks.
  • Entrepreneurs need to be highly trained and incentivized, speak Urdu and Sindhi, and have strong familiarity with local culture.
  • Because entrepreneurs need to travel between villages and cover a lot of ground, but do not generally own cars, each is given a bike. These bikes are branded with EcoEnergy’s logo and provided free of charge.
  • NGO partners are chosen for their focus on distributing solar products while also providing vocational training.

Revenue & Affordability

  • Pakistanis living off the grid pay about $3-10 a month for battery-powered flashlights and kerosene oils/candles.


  • EcoEnergy is funded by a combination of grants, loans, and earned income from product sales.
  • The goal is to become cash flow positive by 2016.


  • EcoEnergy hopes to scale to be supporting five entrepreneurs by the end of 2014, nine by the end of 2015, and thirteen by the end of 2016.

Social Impact

  • EcoEnergy measures its impact in terms of the number of active entrepreneurs and the number of lanterns sold.

More Resources

Online Resources

Contact Information

( +12022620412