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Empowering the rural poor with LED home lights



Headquarters: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Established: 2007
Impact Areas: India, Afghanistan, Sub-Saharan Africa
Type: Hybrid
Energy Sectors:
Business Model Types:
Staff Size: 500
Annual Budget: US$5m
Major Funders: Owners, Sale of Products
Awards: 2006:World Bank Development Marketplace
2007: Santa Clara Global Benefit Incubator


THRIVE Energy Technologies designs, develops, manufactures and promotes low-cost solar powered LED-based lighting systems to replace kerosene lamps. The Lighting Systems are primarily distributed through partner NGOs who implement a rent-to-own system designed by THRIVE Energy Technologies


Energy Products/Services

  • Solar powered LED Home lighting systems
  • Solar powered LED Portable lanterns and study lights

Target Market

  • Off-Grid villages in India, Afghanistan, and Sub-Saharan Africa



Revenue Streams

  • Sale of solar lighting systems

Value Proposition

  • THRIVE Energy Technologies Pvt. Ltd. is a for-profit product manufacturing and trading unit that is an outcome of its NGO-THRIVE .
  • THRIVE Energy Technologies accepts no donations for meeting ts overhead. The funds from the World Bank Development Marketplace award were used completely for project funding.
  • All products of THRIVE Energy Technologies are designed to not need maintenance for at least one year

Problem Addressed

  • India spends some 4.7 billion U.S. dollars (24,000 Crore rupees) on kerosene subsidies every year so that people without grid electricity (nearly 122 million households) can light their homes.
  • Kerosene lamps don’t help much in providing the light people need to work, read or feel safe.
  • The kerosene lamps are dirty and pollute the climate and affect the lungs of children.
  • What’s more, 40% of subsidized kerosene is resold to adulterate diesel through the black market.

Where They Are Now

Impact to Date

  • TET lights have thus far benefitted nearly 3,50,000 primarily poor and tribal people
  • TET is an active member of Lighting Africa and has won the Lighting Africa award for developing lighting entrepreneurs in East Africa.


  • 2001: THRIVE formed as a community development NGO in Andhra Pradesh India
  • 2004: First LED village lighting project in forest area, India
  • 2006: THRIVE receives World Bank Development Marketplace award
  • 2007: Formation of Thrive Energy Technologies Pvt. Ltd., (TET) a commercial company focused on production and deployment of lights
  • 2008: TET wins Lighting Africa Award and starts Africa operations with grant money
  • 2009: TET launches its Study Light
  • 2010: TET launches its Mini light
  • 2011: New models of TET’s Accendo Home Light are launched. First contracts for 10-100kw solar plants flow in.

Growth Plan

  • TET is increasingly developing partnerships with Micro Finance Institutions and Banks that have large customer bases. TET is of the opinion that this segment has major potential due both to their large distribution networks and to their financing capabilities.

How They Deliver

Product Sourcing

  • THRIVE  offers 14 types of solar LED lights.
  • Initially THRIVE the NGO bought products from local and Chinese suppliers, but felt that they were unable to get the high quality and low prices that they needed.  This led them to form their own commercial production company in 2007.
  • THRIVE’s design goals are specifically focused on lowering costs.  They make a $2 light that produces  25 Lumens for 6 hours and a $5 light that will produce the same light for 12 hours.  All have a warranty.
  • THRIVE designs all its products to be easy to take apart and repair.


  • TET doesn’t sell through any retail channels. TET distributes its Lights mostly through its projects with non-profit partners, where they can sell large numbers of lanterns through a single channel. Middlemen costs are eliminated.
  • TET sees rural temples and churches as one of the best places to sell its Lights. TET believes that there is a demonstration (buy) effect, when the priest buys a light and uses it.
  • Of late, TET is undertaking large scale projects- 10-100 kw rural electrification projects.

Revenue & Affordability

  • TET has put a major focus on lowering the costs of their lights by spending very little on salary and overhead. The highest salary they pay is $12,000 per year, and their smallest lamp, which they believe is equivalent in quality to some made by other manufacturers, retails for US$2. TET believes that other companies would be able to offer less expensive products as well if they reduced overhead in similar ways.
  • For customers who can’t afford their larger products, THRIVE organizes/liaisons for loans from rural banks. Though repayment is generally good, as this increases borrowers’ chances of getting larger loans, organizing for loans of around $30 is difficult. Therefore TET is trying to get banks to do a blanket lending, where they will make larger loans that cover a number of lamps.


  • THRIVE has had trouble finding investors, due to their strong focus on low prices and the low-end market.  They were a bit frustrated by investors that did not appear to be as socially focused as they had previously claimed.
  • Therefore THRIVE uses its earnings to scale slowly and organically.
  • THRIVE has received some grant funding from the World Bank Development Marketplace, and the World Bank is now presenting THRIVE to more investors.

Social Impact

  • THRIVE measures impact based on how many people benefit from their lights, and from their capacity to develop lights affordable to the poorest people who need them.

THRIVE Accendo

The THRIVE Accendo differentiates itself as having a longer battery life than any other rechargeable, lasting 12 hours on a single recharge.  LEDs also last the lifetime of the lamp.   The Accendo has a directional light which can be operated in 3-modes: full-bright, medium, and nightlight.  It has an optional mobile phone charger.

How It’s Used:

The Accendo is used to replace kerosene lamps and candles in households, farms, cottage industries, offices, hospitals and small businesses.

Product Type:
Solar Portable

Technical Data

Lumens/Watt:  60
Average Lamp Power and type: 3 Wp Solar Panel, Japanese 1W white-LED
Battery Capacity and type: 6 V (D.C)/ 4500 mAh SMF
Hours Runtime/Charge: 12
Charging Hours from Flat:  3
Lumens:  60
Lumen-hours/year@4hr/day:  87,600
Service Delivered ($):  7,964
Kerosene Service Delivered ($):  872

Cost Data

Number of Households Served  1
Upfront Cost
Estimated Retail Price:  50
Recurring Costs
 Replaceable Products Life(years) Replacement Costs
LED  3  $3
5-year Replacement Costs  $5
5-year Ownership Cost  $55


Other Products

Accendo Street Light
Home Lighting System
Solar Power Packs
Solar Modules

More Resources

Online Resources

Contact Information

Plot No. 133/1/B
Phase II, Sector I, Lane I
IDA Charlapally
Hyderabad – 5000051

( +91 9866305772, +91 040 32901212