MEC Africa Program: All You Need to Know

MicroEnergy Credits – Microfinance for Solar Lamps & Efficient Cookstoves

Grouped Project under Verra

In line with our commitment to transparency and integrity, we are providing a comprehensive list of all the information about our Africa clean energy program here.

This initiative aims to ensure that stakeholders have access to program details and documentation in an easy-to-use way.

In the rural areas in Kenya, the predominant means of cooking are traditional cookstoves that use charcoal or wood as fuel. The smoke and fumes from these inefficient stoves contribute heavily to indoor air pollution, and affect human health. In rural areas of Kenya there is either no grid connection or frequent power outages and low voltage so rural households must use kerosene for indoor lighting, which also contributes to indoor air pollution.

Under the project activity, MEC works with project partners to develop a successful and diversified clean energy-lending program. The clean energy program addresses typical barriers for low-income clients including education, price, finance, and supply and aftersales service. MEC trains project partners to implement the clean energy lending program, as well as a robust and transparent carbon credit monitoring and tracking system to quantify and record the volume of carbon emission reductions created through the clean energy program.

Audited Documents

Additionality:

Over-crediting

Co-benefits of the program

MEC India Efficient Lighting Program: All You Need to Know

MicroEnergy Credits - Microfinance for Efficient Lighting Product Lines

Grouped Project under Verra

In line with our commitment to transparency and integrity, we are providing a comprehensive list of all the information about our efficient lighting carbon program here.

This initiative aims to ensure that stakeholders have access to program details and documentation in an easy-to-use way.

The purpose of this grouped project “Microfinance for Inverter LED lamps in India” is to reduce fossil-fuel-based electricity consumption in rural households across India by introducing more energy-efficient inverter LED lamps to replace incandescent lightbulbs (“ICLs”). An inverter LED contains a light bulb coupled with a battery system (typically Li-Ion type) such that the LED bulb will operate on the mains power supply during availability and will switch to battery power when the main supply is not available (for e.g., in a blackout situation). This makes the inverter LED more versatile and useful than a normal LED bulb.

The inverter LEDs distributed under the grouped project replace ICL lamps in households, which results in GHG emissions due to the usage of ICL. Thus, the grouped project leads to the mitigation of GHG emissions and a range of other sustainable development benefits in the project region.

The distribution of SLS is not mandated by Indian law and the grouped project is a voluntary initiative.

Audited Documents

Additionality:

Over-crediting

Co-benefits of the program: Fostering community empowerment

MEC India Clean Energy Program (GS11450): All You Need to Know

MICROENERGY CREDITS – MICROFINANCE FOR CLEAN ENERGY PRODUCT LINES – INDIA

PoA ID GS 11450

In line with our commitment to transparency and integrity, we are providing a comprehensive list of all the information about our India clean energy carbon program here.

This initiative aims to ensure that stakeholders have access to program details and documentation in an easy-to-use way.

The program promotes three broad categories of Clean Energy Products (“CEP”):

Comprehensive information about the program:

I. Audited Documents:

II. Additionality:

III. Over-crediting:

IV. Co-benefits of the program: Fostering community empowerment

MicroEnergy Credits Carbon Program: Stringent Measures Ensuring No Over-Crediting of Emission Reductions

Over-crediting in the context of carbon reduction/avoidance projects pertains to issuing more emission reductions than are achieved or attributable to a project. To mitigate this potential risk, MicroEnergy Credits (MEC) adopts various safeguards throughout project implementation.

These range from program-level safeguards aligned with the IC-VCM’s Core Carbon Principles to technology-level safeguards based on the latest science, research, and best practices.

Measures in place to avoid over-crediting

MEC’s projects have a robust sampling approach for all three technologies i.e. improved cookstoves, water purification systems and distributed solar lamps/solar home lighting systems.  The sampling approach is designed keeping in mind the heterogeneity in the population across geographical sub-divisions of the specific project boundaries, and the associated differences in the parameters monitored for GHG impact quantification.

Samples are randomly chosen from specific geographical sub-divisions where products are implemented, thereby ensuring that a random subset of a population is selected, meaning that the samples are representative of the cooking/water consumption/lighting practices in the state.  This stratified approach yields unbiased estimates of population parameters and accounts for differences in the way these technologies and resulting services are used.

Monitoring of certain parameters for improved cookstoves and water purification systems are designed in a manner to account for the effects of seasonal variation. For improved cookstoves, the quantity of fuel consumed for cooking (both in baseline and project scenarios) is conducted both in dry and wet seasons. The conservative value between the two seasons is considered for calculating the emission reductions.  Similarly, for water purification systems, the quantity of water consumed per person per day also considers season variation ensuring that the results are conservative.

As a general practice, MEC cross-checks the fixed monitoring parameter values with credible literature or the latest available government data to ensure the results are aligned. A few examples are cited below:

  1. The quantity of fuel used for cooking (parameters Pb and Pp) is cross-checked against the University of Berkeley’s report “Cooking the books: Pervasive over-crediting from cookstoves offset methodologies” to ensure that the service level caps prescribed are never crossed.
  2. For the quantity of water consumed per person per day (parameter QPWy), the value is cross-checked against the WHO report “Technical Notes on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Emergencies.
  3. Similarly, the value for the parameter the proportion of the population already using safe water (parameter Cb) is cross-checked against the Jal Jeeval Mission (JJM), an initiative by the Government of India and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) water quality testing reports under their National Water Quality Monitoring Programme (NWQP).

In addition to the methodological requirements, MEC also conducts quarterly monitoring for solar lighting systems and annual monitoring for improved cookstoves and water purification systems.

  1. Every quarter of the calendar year, MEC partner organizations conduct monitoring to check whether the solar lighting system is operational. This is done for all the products part of the project.
  2. All the products (solar lighting system, improved cookstove, and water purification system) are checked by partner organizations in the last month of the calendar year to check the usage status.

If the products are found non-operational in any quarter (for solar) and end of the calendar year (for all technologies) then emission reduction is not claimed for those households.

These measures are deployed in addition to the monitoring frequencies prescribed for certain parameters in the applied methodology resulting in any systemic issues with adoption and usage of these products as well as being able to provide timely after-sales service.

For improved cookstoves, MEC has defined “use” vs “non-use” in the project design document to determine which household should be considered eligible for crediting. During monitoring, if any household is found not using the project stove daily or the stove is found not in use through visual inspection then emission reduction is not claimed for those households. This is a more conservative approach than what other projects in the sector use where a “user” could be a household that uses the stove up to once a week. Similarly, for the water purification system, if a household has not used the water purifier once in two days, then emission reduction is not claimed for those households. 

MEC uses the CDM tool 30 version 4.0 to calculate the fNRB. The fNRB value calculated uses the value of 0.5 tonnes per annum for calculating wood harvest as a measure of conservativeness.

MEC employs a robust database management team that develops customized data model algorithms and proprietary software that surgically scans and eliminates any duplicate records of end-users through multiple levels of data modeling checks. To implement these checks successfully, MEC engages with partner organizations to submit an extensive monthly database of loan records corresponding to clean energy product sales.

Click here to learn more about our data management system.

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Ensuring No Over-Crediting of Emission Reductions Due to Double Counting: Stringent Data Management and Exclusive Partnership Contracts

MicroEnergy Credits (MEC) is committed to the ICVCM’s Core Carbon Principles and ensuring that emission reductions from its program are not double counted. According to IC-VCM, the “GHG emission reductions or removals from the mitigation activity shall not be double counted, i.e., they shall only be counted once towards achieving mitigation targets or goals” (ICVCM, 2023).

Double counting covers double issuance, double claiming, and double use. Double claiming and double use are risks managed by standards that certify the projects. MEC’s projects are certified by reputed standards like Gold Standard and Verra which have mechanisms in place at their registry level to ensure that double claiming does not occur. Double Issuance occurs when two or more carbon credits co-exist for one GHG emission reduction or removal, under the same or different carbon-crediting or other programs. MEC takes stringent measures to ensure that there is no double issuance of credits from a single household or that no other entity is issuing credits from the same project. MEC employs a robust database management team that develops customised data model algorithms and proprietary software that surgically scans and eliminates any duplicate records of end-users through multiple levels of data modeling checks. To implement these checks successfully, MEC engages with partner organisations to submit an extensive monthly database of loan records corresponding to clean energy product sales. Moreover, MEC’s contract agreement with partnering organisations includes a rigorous exclusivity clause for the carbon project implementation within a specified geographical area.

Checking for duplicate records

Duplicate records can happen due to human error in entering records or erroneous data submission. Since MEC’s carbon program follows a market-driven approach, every end-user of the clean energy product is accessing affordable financing options from a partner microfinance institution (MFI). Therefore, all clean energy product loans have a unique transaction number. In the monthly data submitted by MFIs, MEC checks all transaction records in the entire database and eliminates all duplicate transaction numbers as double entries or erroneous records. This way, we can eliminate any human error or the possibility of erroneous data submission that may inflate the emission reduction calculations and generate more carbon credits than the actual. This method might sometimes even lead to under-crediting, which preserves the principle of conservativeness in the calculation of carbon credits.

Double-layer scrutiny with checks for overlapping records.

MEC works with several MFIs across different crediting periods, which means that there is a possibility that a single end-user may be a client of multiple MFIs at the same time. Sometimes end users may access a cross-sale loan from multiple MFIs for the same technology device. End users can also access an MFI for multiple loans for similar technologies across different loan periods. There is a risk that an end-user might end up with more than one solar light, improved cookstove, or water purifier during the same crediting period. While one may argue that an end-user may need multiple units of similar devices and may be using them regularly, by the principle of conservativeness in carbon credits, only the first unit may be eligible for calculation of carbon credits as that unit is reducing emissions over the baseline under a business-as-usual scenario. Therefore, it becomes imperative that all succeeding and overlapping devices of the same technology type are eliminated while calculating the emission reductions from the carbon program.

MEC applies a second layer of checks (beyond duplicate entries) for overlapping user account identifications by carefully identifying patterns and matches in all historical customer identifier data fields. MEC sends all overlapping records to partner MFIs for clarification, and only upon submission of satisfactory evidence does MEC include such records in the current monitoring period, otherwise these records are eliminated.

MEC also eliminates the possibility of overlapping loan products across partner MFIs by scrutinizing the entire database across different partners by applying partial matching algorithms on end-user demographic microdata. This helps us scan out overlapping sales, which we send for clarification to different partner organizations for a common data field. MEC eliminates all overlapping records from the database and only includes unique records in the emission reduction calculations.

MEC has developed a proprietary data warehousing and processing software called the Credit Tracker, which applies all these complex data modeling algorithms to ensure that the data integrity is maintained by elimination of over-crediting due to double counting across the entire program in the defined geographical area. Our Credit Tracker software is ever-evolving, and the current version is upgraded with state-of-the-art big data algorithms to identify noise across a heterogeneous database of over 9 million households across the globe.

Distinction between MEC's CER and VER portfolio

MEC ensures that the emission reductions from its projects and the related climate impacts are counted only once. MEC ensures that there is no double issuance because:

  1. There is no overlap between the CDM monitoring periods and GS/Verra monitoring periods for any of these PoA/projects.
  2. There are no issued CERs that have been converted to GS-VERs or VCUs.

Exclusivity clause

The concept of exclusivity is deeply embedded in the partnership agreements between MEC and partnering MFIs. MEC signs partnerships with MFIs on the ground that all clean energy projects by the partnering entity shall only be registered under MEC’s carbon program. This ensures that no partnering MFI can claim carbon funding from any other project developer while being a part of MEC’s carbon projects. Through continuous training and engagement with partners, MEC implements the concept of exclusivity in all carbon projects to avoid any possibility that two or more mitigation activities have overlapping GHG accounting boundaries in the carbon market which could lead to double issuance. This enables us to implement a market-wide check and balance since MEC is the trusted carbon program partner to all major MFIs in the geographical area.

MEC’s stringent data management and exclusive contracts can set out a market-wide standard for upholding the integrity of carbon credits and eliminate doubts that different market participants may have on the issue of over-crediting due to double counting.