MEC India Clean Energy Program: Co-Benefits - Fostering Community Empowerment

Posted: January 5, 2024

Paving the Way Towards a Sustainable Future

MicroEnergy Credits (MEC) programs, backed by carbon finance, play a crucial role in bridging the gap between clean energy solutions and communities in need.

Employing a holistic approach, MEC addresses challenges encompassing energy drudgery, awareness, pricing, finance, and after-sales services, ensuring a sustained impact on the communities it serves.

The comprehensive strategy of MEC's India program makes a substantial contribution to community development. By significantly reducing indoor air pollution and providing access to sustainable energy for cooking, lighting, and clean water, the program addresses the fundamental needs of low-income households. Strategic partnerships with microfinance institutions facilitate upfront credit facilities for clean energy technologies, ensuring affordability through manageable EMIs. Furthermore, the program creates employment opportunities for local youth, fostering sustainable development in the communities it serves.

Contributing to Sustainable Development Goals while Addressing Barriers for Low-Income Clients under MEC Projects in India

Within the dynamic landscape of its projects in India, MEC not only strives to contribute to the broader canvas of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but also successfully addresses the unique challenges faced by low-income households. This multipronged model forms the crux of MEC's mission in India.

MEC is committed to not only providing clean energy solutions and clean water (significantly contributing to SDGs 6 & 7) but also actively addressing the barriers faced by low-income clients. Comprehensive training programs empower MEC’s project partners to effectively implement clean energy lending, supported by a robust carbon credit monitoring system for transparency and accountability. These innovative strategies and multifaceted approaches employed by MEC’s projects in India have been striving to achieve the twin objectives of sustainable development and inclusivity in the Indian context since 2013, impacting 8 million low-income households.

MEC strategically employs carbon finance to drive sustainable change, focusing on:

  • Increasing awareness among end-users

Carbon finance is allocated to drive educative awareness campaigns among rural and low-income communities. This ensures that communities are not only aware of the benefits of clean energy but also actively engage in adopting solutions that help them shift away from traditional fossil fuels to improved clean energy technologies. This action aligns the end user’s perspective towards the low carbon technology and contributes to SDG-7(Affordable and Clean Energy) and 13 (Climate Action).

  • Training and capacity building

MEC dedicates resources to training and capacity-building programs for micro-entrepreneurs and staff members of microfinance institutions (MFIs). Each training program developed by MEC is tailored to the specific needs of partner organizations. These programs aim to improve skills, facilitate effective communication with end-users, and ensure the rigorous use of technology, along with prompt after-sales services, and scaling-up of the program in the long run. This action aligns the end user’s perspective towards the low carbon technology and contributes to SDG-7(Affordable and Clean Energy), 13 (Climate Action), SDG-8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth)

  • Lending funds to local SMEs

MEC recognizes the importance of local businesses, especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and channels funds to support sales of clean energy products. This not only boosts local economies but also creates a self-sustaining cycle of clean energy adoption. The activities under the program provide opportunities for skilled employment in rural areas and significantly contribute to SDG-8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth).

  • Aftersales service and maintenance

Carbon finance is utilized to provide after-sales service and maintenance, ensuring that the end-users can maximize the benefits from the continuous use of clean energy products.  This solidifies the community’s trust and commitment towards the adoption and consistent use of clean energy technologies which significantly contributes to SDG-7 and SDG-13.

  • Sustained engagement with end-users

MEC maintains a sustained relationship with the end-user, with regular monitoring of product usage being an important part of MEC’s carbon program. MEC works with microfinance institutions which typically meet with clients every week or fortnight. These meetings serve the purpose of reinforcing the behavioural change needed for the sustained efficient adoption of the clean energy product. Moreover, these meetings create a timely opportunity for users to access after-sales service for their products. The action promptly contributes to SDG-7 and SDG-13.

  • Lowering interest or principal costs

Carbon finance is strategically used to lower interest or principal costs for clients, making clean energy solutions more affordable to low-income communities. This lowering of the upfront cost is supported through carbon finance promotes widespread adoption and significantly contributes to SDG-1.

Harmony Between MEC Projects in India and the Government of India's Welfare Schemes and Programs

In addition to aligning with the SDGs, MEC's India program has broadened its influence by supporting various schemes and social security programs initiated by the Government of India. The following is a list of schemes and programs to which MEC's India program has contributed:

 Scheme/Program NameAboutContribution of MEC’s Program to the Schemes/Program
1Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM)SBM focuses on achieving universal sanitation coverage and clean water for all A prominent technology within MEC's program is the water purification system, ensuring continuous access to safe and clean drinking water
2National Solar Mission (Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission)Aims to promote the use of solar energyThe solar home lighting System is a frequently used technology within the MEC program
3UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All)UJALA promotes the use of energy-efficient LED bulbsLED lights are part of the offering under the MEC program
4Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti YojanaReliable power supply to rural areasBy implementing solar home lighting systems, MEC ensures sustainable access to electricity, enabling low-income households to engage in productive activities after nightfall
5Skill India Mission (Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana)Enhance employability of the India's youth by providing them with skill development and vocational trainingThe MEC model educates and empowers microentrepreneurs, creating a skilled workforce in rural areas. Additionally, MEC provides training for MFI staff, enhancing their skills in sales, marketing, and the service and maintenance of low carbon technologies
6Jal Jeevan MissionAccess to safe and piped water supply to all rural households in IndiaA prominent technology within MEC's program is the water purification system, ensuring continuous access to safe and clean drinking water
7Green India Mission (National Mission for a Green India)Focuses on afforestation, reforestation, and conservation of biodiversity to enhance carbon sinks, mitigate climate change, and improve environmental sustainabilityThe MEC program guarantees a decrease in carbon emissions, contributing positively to climate change mitigation and enhancing environmental sustainability. Efficient energy usage in improved cookstoves reduces the amount of firewood used in cooking, reducing deforestation
8Stand-Up IndiaPromotes entrepreneurship among women, Scheduled Castes (SCs), and Scheduled Tribes (STs)The MEC model educates and supports micro entrepreneurs, especially women, cultivating a skilled workforce (for example: distributors of clean energy products, and clean energy leaders) in rural regions

MEC seeks to empower every community by providing access to affordable and innovative clean energy solutions, including solar lighting systems, improved biomass cookstoves, and water purification systems.

With the aim to create a world free of both poverty and climate change, MEC leverages carbon finance through its programs, enabling rural and low-income communities to take control of their clean energy future. MEC's projects in India showcase collaboration, innovative financing, and a comprehensive approach to empowerment to bring enduring transformation for communities in their journey out of poverty.

MicroEnergy Credits is the most trusted name in social impact carbon credits.

Our mission is to empower every microfinance community with access to affordable and innovative clean energy solutions, while moving towards a world free of both poverty and climate change.