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 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

MEC Africa Program: Co-Benefits

Fostering Community Empowerment - 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 Africa programs makes a substantial contribution to community development. By significantly reducing indoor air pollution and providing access to sustainable energy for cooking and lighting, 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 Africa

Within the dynamic landscape of its projects in Africa, 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 Africa.

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 Africa have been striving to achieve the twin objectives of sustainable development and inclusivity in the African context since 2013, impacting 8 million low-income households.

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

Carbon finance is allocated to drive education and 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).

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)

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).

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.

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.

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 Africa and the Governments of Kenya and Uganda’s welfare schemes and programs

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

Sl. NoScheme/Program NameCountryAboutContribution of MEC’s Program to the Schemes/Program
1Last Mile Connectivity ProgramKenyaThe project is targeted at benefitting approximately 314,200 non-commercial customers (households) resulting in electricity access to an additional 1.5 million KenyansBy implementing solar home lighting systems, MEC ensures sustainable access to electricity, enabling low-income households to engage in productive activities after nightfall
2National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP)KenyaThe National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP), 2018-2022, is a five-year plan that helps Kenya adapt to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissionsMEC MFI carbon program in Kenya is reducing GHG emission by providing low carbon technologies among the under-privileged communities.
3Climate Change Act, 2016Kenyamainstream climate change responses and formulate program and plans to enhance the resilience and adaptive capacity of human and ecological systems to the impacts of climate change;The MEC MFI carbon program in Kenya is instrumental in establishing an ecosystem for the adoption of low-carbon technologies within underprivileged communities.
4Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP)KenyaKYEOP is a transformational project that aims to empower and uplift the well-being of the youth in Kenya by equipping them with essential training, internship and business grant opportunities.The MEC model educates and empowers microentrepreneurs, creating a skilled workforce in Africa. Additionally, MEC provides training for MFI staff, enhancing their skills in sales, marketing, and the service and maintenance of low carbon technologies.
5Youth Livelihood Program (YLP)  Ugandato empower the target youth to harness their socio-economic potential and increase self-employment opportunities and income levelsThe MEC model educates and empowers microentrepreneurs, creating a skilled workforce in Africa. Additionally, MEC provides training for MFI staff, enhancing their skills in sales, marketing, and the service and maintenance of low carbon technologies.
6Rural Electrification Agency (REA) initiatives Promotion of renewable energy sources  UgandaThe implementation of the policy objectives will positively respond to the various policy instruments and programs, which address poverty, catalyze industrialization, and protect the environment.The MEC MFI carbon program in Uganda is instrumental in establishing an ecosystem for the adoption of low-carbon technologies within underprivileged communities.
7National Climate Change Policy & Action PlanUgandaTo ensure a harmonized approach towards a climate-resilient and low-carbon development path for sustainable development in UgandaThe MEC MFI carbon program in Uganda is instrumental in establishing an ecosystem for the adoption of low-carbon technologies within underprivileged communities and supporting the national climate change policy and action plan.

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.

In working towards a sustainable and eco-friendly future, Micro Energy Credits (MEC) is contributing through transformative projects in Kenya and Uganda. The program supported by Carbon Finance, play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between clean energy solutions and communities-in-need. MEC's holistic approach addresses challenges related to education, pricing, finance, and aftersales services, ensuring a comprehensive impact on the communities it serves.

MEC's African program embodies a comprehensive approach aligned with multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By significantly reducing indoor air pollution, it actively contributes to SDG-13. Additionally, providing access to sustainable energy for cooking and lighting addresses the fundamental needs of low-income households, making a positive impact on SDG-1. MEC forms strategic partnerships with Microfinance Institutions to ensure upfront credit facilities for clean energy technologies, supporting affordability through manageable EMIs and contributing to SDG-7. Furthermore, the program plays a vital role in generating local employment opportunities, making a meaningful contribution to SDG-8.

Addressing Barriers for Low-Income Clients:

MEC goes beyond providing clean energy solutions by actively addressing the typical barriers faced by low-income clients. Through comprehensive training programs, project partners are equipped to implement clean energy lending effectively. This includes the establishment of a robust carbon credit monitoring and tracking system to ensure transparency and accountability.

Bridging Gaps through Client Education:

MEC places a strong emphasis on client education to empower communities with information about clean energy solutions. By fostering a deeper understanding of the benefits of clean energy, MEC not only provides a sustainable solution but also brings about a behavioral change towards adopting these technologies.

Utilizing Carbon Finance for Sustainable Impact:

The innovative use of carbon finance is at the core of MEC's projects in Africa, amplifying the impact of clean energy initiatives. Here's how MEC strategically employs carbon finance to drive sustainable change:

Client Education and Marketing:

Carbon finance is allocated to drive client education, awareness campaigns and marketing efforts. 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.

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, scaling-up, of the program in the long-run.

Lending Funds to Local SMEs:

Recognizing the importance of local businesses especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), MEC channels funds to support sales of clean energy product. This not only boosts local economies but also creates a self-sustaining cycle of clean energy adoption.

Aftersales Service and Maintenance:

Carbon finance is utilized to provide aftersales service and maintenance, ensuring optimal functionality of the clean energy products. This solidifies community trust and commitment towards adoption and consistent use of clean energy technologies, making the projects more effective in the long run.

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 financial cost cutting supported through carbon finance promotes widespread adoption, furthering MEC's mission of creating a sustainable and resilient future.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targeted under MEC’s projects in Africa

Climate Action (Goal 13): The emissions generated by the water purifier are lower compared to boiling water on a standard stove. Likewise, the substitution of kerosene lanterns with SLS results in decreased emissions, leading to a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

No Poverty (Goal 1): The water purification systems and SLS offer efficient and environmentally friendly access to the basic essential services.

Affordable and Clean Energy (Goal 7): Project provides access to affordable and cleaner technology for drinking safe water i.e. operational WPS and Solar lighting Systems for lightning purpose.

Decent Work and Economic Growth (Goal 8): The project generates local employment for manufacturing, distribution, and maintenance of CEPs.

The overarching vision of MEC's projects in Africa is to enable the installation of solar lighting systems, improved biomass cookstoves and water purification devices throughout the country. By leveraging carbon finance in a multifaceted approach, MEC and its project partners aim to transform communities by providing them clean energy solutions and at the same time empowering them to build a sustainable and resilient future.

MEC's projects in Africa exemplify how collaborative efforts, innovative financing models, and a holistic approach can bring about tangible and lasting change. As we navigate the path towards a greener tomorrow, MEC’s projects pave the way for a future where clean energy is a universally accessible and affordable. Through education, strategic financing, and community empowerment, MEC showcases the potential for a sustainable and brighter future for all.

Image Credit: Freepik

MEC India Clean Energy Program- Project Additionality: Common Practice Analysis

Bolstering the Integrity of Carbon Credits

The concept of common practice in additionality is a critical component in bolstering confidence in carbon offsets and their integrity. MicroEnergy Credits follows a robust process to ensure that all its carbon projects are strictly additional and not common practice.

Common practice analysis helps determine the extent to which a technology is business as usual i.e. has already diffused in a sector and region. Distributed clean energy products in India have been largely successfully deployed through carbon finance. Several programs by multilateral banks, government initiatives, etc. have had limited success for various reasons, elaborated upon extensively later in the article.

In the context of energy access and clean cooking/drinking water/lighting services in rural India, challenges and opportunities converge to shape the landscape. About 840[i] million in India fully or partially rely on traditional biomass for cooking, contributing to indoor air pollution, fire hazards, and adverse health impacts. Limited access to modern and clean energy sources, such as electricity and clean cooking technologies, remains a pressing issue.

The applicable geographic areas for interventions in rural areas of India are characterized by diverse challenges including economic constraints, lack of infrastructure, and geographic remoteness. Many households face challenges in adopting clean cooking technologies due to high upfront costs, limited awareness, and insufficient supply of products.

MEC’s Clean Energy Program reduces emissions by facilitating a transition from conventional fossil-fuel technologies to more energy-efficient alternatives. Collaborating with our partner microfinance institutions, MEC has identified products that meet the specific requirements of each community. These products include solar lighting systems, improved cookstoves (ICS), and water purifiers.

In the period preceding the project's commencement, there was a lack of infrastructure and supportive conditions[ii] for the adoption of renewable technologies such as solar home lighting systems, improved cookstoves (ICS), and water purifiers. The community that the project aimed to assist had limited awareness about these cleaner technologies. Further, the essential products were largely unavailable in the local market, making it challenging for the targeted population to access and benefit from these sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions. Besides that, there was no financing[iii] available on the mentioned products, The upfront cost of these clean technologies was high for a low-income remotely located household. MEC, partnering with MFIs, sought to address these gaps by creating awareness, establishing a supportive ecosystem, enabling financial assistance in the form of microfinance loans, and making these technologies more accessible to the community, thereby contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally conscious way of living.

Projects implemented without carbon finance

Numerous initiatives by the Government of India (GOI) and multilateral organizations have focused on the implementation of biomass cookstoves. Unfortunately, many of these efforts faced challenges and were largely unsuccessful due to a lack of a comprehensive ecosystem development approach. Most of these programs involved the free distribution of improved cookstoves among low-income households. The key issues contributing to their failure included an insufficient emphasis on behavioral change among end-users, limited access to repair and maintenance services, the inadequate establishment of local supply chains, and the provision of technologies not well-suited to local food habits and cooking styles.

Here are a few examples of past programs initiated by the GOI:

Name of the ProgramObjectivesPeriodNumber of stoves distributed
National Program on Improved Cookstoves (NPIC)To disseminate improved cookstoves on a mass scale, through various partners, including state nodal agencies, NGOs, and self-employed workers1983- 200235 million[iv]
National Biomass Cookstoves Initiative (NBCI)To enhance technical capacity, strengthening research and development for ICS2009NA
Unnat Chulha AbhiyanTo promote improved biomass cookstoves across all states and union territories20142.4 million

A study conducted[v] jointly by J-PAL Global, Harvard University, and the University of Chicago on evaluating the long-term impacts of improved cooking stoves in India revealed significant insights into the sustainable outcomes and effectiveness of these state-run cookstove programs. The study was conducted in Odisha, India, in partnership with NGO Gram Vikas, to assess the long-term health and environmental impacts of an improved cookstove program. It was found that while many households accepted the stoves, regular usage was low and declined over time. The stoves did not substantially reduce exposure to harmful pollutants, leading to limited health improvements. The study suggests that real-world conditions significantly affect the success of such state-run interventions, emphasizing the need for testing technologies in realistic settings before massive-scale implementation.

Likewise, a research paper titled "Piloting Improved Cookstoves in India"[vi], advocates for a social marketing strategy. The approach, based on the 4Ps (promotion, product, price, and place), is recommended to stimulate the adoption of improved cookstoves. The authors emphasize the necessity of a holistic strategy that addresses communication, pricing, and placement considerations. To surpass the current low levels of adoption, the article suggests a comprehensive field-testing methodology, exploring various combinations of social marketing interventions. The study is executed in rural India, concentrating on areas with diverse socio-political and biophysical contexts.

Another academic publication by the University of Iowa, USA and Cornell College, USA titled "Why Have Improved Cook-Stove Initiatives in India Failed?“[vii] argues that rural women in India, who are the primary users of cookstoves, do not give priority to improved cookstoves. Meeting the priorities of these women would necessitate substantial investment to challenge established and influential social practices.

A joint research study[viii] “Who is willing to pay for solar lamps in rural India?” by VIT Bhopal University, India, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India, and the Boston College School of Social Work, USA underscores the need to increase awareness in the surveyed states, particularly for solar home systems (SHS) and solar water pumps. Given the minimal duration of available electricity, especially during dark hours in Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh states, the research suggests that solar products can serve as a meaningful solution to address these gaps. Recommendations include promoting awareness through various programs to generate significant interest in solar energy products, ultimately increasing willingness to pay among the population.

Overcoming barriers to clean energy adoption with MEC’s carbon funding

There is also evidence to suggest that giveaway programs (i.e. where clean energy products are given for free) are not successful for several reasons, e.g. limited to no focus on end-user awareness, lack of after-sales service, and no capacity development at an individual or institutional level.  

The MEC program is not common practice as it utilizes carbon finance to overcome challenges, empowering microentrepreneurs to invest in clean energy products. Initially, MEC collaborates with the microfinance institution to devise an appealing clean energy product offering for its microfinance client base, addressing obstacles such as education, pricing, financing, and the availability of supplies and after-sales service. Subsequently, MEC provides training to the microfinance institution for the implementation of the clean energy-lending program. This training encompasses aspects like business planning, capacity building, marketing and awareness campaigns for client education, and supply chain processes. MEC establishes a robust and transparent system for monitoring and tracking carbon credits, quantifying, and documenting the number of emissions reduced by the clean energy program. Lastly, the carbon finance is employed to expand and sustain the clean energy program through activities such as:

The common practice analysis conducted in the context of MicroEnergy Credits' carbon programs in India underscores the pivotal role of additional practices in ensuring the integrity of carbon credits. MEC's approach, leveraging carbon finance to overcome barriers to clean energy adoption, stands out as a distinctive and effective strategy, addressing challenges ranging from lack of awareness and infrastructure to financing constraints. By integrating microfinance institutions, client education, and comprehensive monitoring systems, MEC not only reduces carbon emissions but also establishes a sustainable and environmentally conscious pathway for rural communities, thereby contributing significantly to the broader goals of carbon mitigation and sustainable


[i] https://www.iisd.org/system/files/publications/clean-cooking-india-challenges-solutions_0.pdf

[ii] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S221462962030116X

[iii] https://shaktifoundation.in/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/3FINAL-COOKING.pdf

[iv] https://energypedia.info/images/f/f7/Dr._Parveen_Dhamija_%28MNRE%29_-_Unnat_Chulha_Abhiyan.pdf

[v] https://www.ideasforindia.in/topics/environment/improved-cooking-stoves-in-india-evaluating-long-run-impacts.html

[vi] Jessica J. Lewis, Vasundhara Bhojvaid, Nina Brooks, Ipsita Das, Marc A. Jeuland, Omkar Patange & Subhrendu K. Pattanayak (2015) Piloting Improved Cookstoves in India, Journal of Health Communication, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10810730.2014.994243

[vii] Why Have Improved Cook-Stove Initiatives in India Failed? - ScienceDirect

[viii] Who is willing to pay for solar lamps in rural India?- ScienceDirect

Image by Freepik

MEC Clean Energy Program- Project Additionality: Overcoming Socio-Economic Barriers

Bolstering the Integrity of Carbon Credits

The concept of additionality is a critical component in bolstering confidence in the integrity of carbon credits. MicroEnergy Credits follows a robust process to ensure that all its carbon projects are strictly additional and have a high social impact.

In the Guide to Carbon Offset Utilization, the concept of "quality or integrity" of an offset revolves around the confidence of the stakeholders in the ability of credit to fulfill the emission reduction requirements. The principle of additionality is crucial for boosting trust in carbon credits and safeguarding their integrity. In the context of crediting mechanisms, "additionality" refers to the notion that emission reductions or removals resulting from a mitigation activity are considered additional only if the activity would not have taken place without the additional incentive provided by carbon credits. Essentially, an additional project signifies that it would only be financially viable with carbon funding from market-based mechanisms. To quality as genuine carbon offsets, the reductions from projects must be "additional" compared to what would happen at business as usual. All projects registered under widely accepted greenhouse gas (GHG) project standardsadhere to the guidelines for evaluating and demonstrating additionality as established by the respective GHG crediting programs.

Socio-Economic Barriers Analysis for Proof of Additionality of MEC’s Clean Energy Program

  1. Barriers faced by low-income households to adopting clean energy technologies in India & Africa

Low-income households in India and Africa face several barriers to adopting clean energy technologies. These barriers are economic, social, and infrastructural. Here are some common challenges:

Addressing these barriers requires a comprehensive approach involving government initiatives, financial institutions, awareness campaigns, and community engagement to make clean energy technologies more accessible and attractive to low-income households in India.

In India, MEC's Carbon Program is closing gaps by designing projects that empower low-income households to select the most suitable and dependable clean technologies, supported by carbon finance.

2. Barriers faced by micro finance institutions to fund low-carbon technologies

Historically, a few microfinance institutions have engaged in providing microfinance for low-carbon technologies, However, challenges such as the high cost of hiring additional staff, costs related to marketing and building awareness, understanding of the products and technologies, absence of a local supply chain, concern about reputational risk, limited onward lending funds and challenge in developing products for consumptive loans have always tied the scope of growth. The MEC has introduced a program aimed at helping microfinance institutions overcome these hurdles.

Use of carbon funding to overcome barriers to clean energy adoption

MEC utilizes carbon finance to overcome the barriers - from investing in awareness programs by training MFI partners to empowering microentrepreneurs by accessing loans for the adoption of products and supporting MFI partners to provide aftersales service to customers. MEC begins by collaborating with microfinance institutions to devise an attractive clean energy product offering for its microfinance client base, addressing obstacles such as lack of education, high pricing, access to financing, and delivery and after-sales services. Subsequently, MEC trains the microfinance institutions for the implementation of the clean energy-lending program. This includes business planning, capacity building, and the execution of marketing, awareness/ education, and supply chain processes. MEC has established a robust and transparent system for monitoring and tracking carbon credits, quantifying, and documenting the amount of emission reductions generated by the clean energy projects. Lastly, the carbon finance is employed to expand and sustain the clean energy program through activities such as:

MEC employs a rigorous methodology to guarantee that its projects exclusively benefit low-income households in rural India, who would otherwise face challenges in accessing clean energy technologies due to economic and financial obstacles. The utilization of carbon funding is instrumental to overcoming these barriers and eventually bridging the viability gap in investment decisions. Consequently, the carbon credits produced by MEC's carbon programs contribute significantly to socio-economic development and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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

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:

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).

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)

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).

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.

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.

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.


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.

MEC India Program - Microfinance for Solar Lighting & Water Purifiers: Audited Documents

In line with our commitment to transparency and integrity, we are providing all details of and access to audited documents pertaining to our carbon programs here. This initiative aims to ensure that stakeholders have access to program details and documentation in an easy-to-use way.

In the rural regions of India, the prevalent method for obtaining drinking water involves boiling, typically done using traditional cook stoves fuelled by woody biomass. Unfortunately, the resultant smoke and fumes significantly contribute to indoor air pollution. Additionally, households in these rural areas face challenges such as lack of grid connectivity or, in cases where connectivity exists, frequent power outages and low voltage. This situation forces households to resort to using kerosene for indoor lighting, further exacerbating indoor air pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Verified Project Activity (VPA) outlined in this initiative encompasses the marketing, education, distribution, and financing of solar lighting systems and water purification devices specifically tailored for low-income households and microentrepreneurs in India. MicroEnergy Credits Corporation Private Limited serves as the Coordinating and Managing Entity for this Program of Activities (PoA), overseeing the efforts of VPA implementers in the distribution of Clean Energy Products across India.

These products, namely solar lighting systems and water purification devices, play a pivotal role in providing clean drinking water and renewable energy for lighting. The water purification devices, distributed as part of the proposed VPAs, replace traditional cookstoves, eliminating the need for fuelwood to boil water, and consequently, reducing GHG emissions associated with fuelwood consumption. Simultaneously, the solar lighting systems serve as substitutes for kerosene-based lamps in households, mitigating potential GHG emissions resulting from the burning of fossil fuels, specifically kerosene. This multifaceted approach aims to address both water purification needs and lighting requirements while significantly curbing the environmental impact associated with traditional practices.

The audited documents for all the VPAs under this program are listed below. Click on the document name to open. These documents can also be found on the Gold Standard registry.

Project Design Documents

 1VPA Design Document for GS11896
 2VPA Design Document for GS11897
 3VPA Design Document for GS11898
 4VPA Design Document for GS11496
 5VPA Design Document for GS11505
 6VPA Design Document for GS11894
 7VPA Design Document for GS11895
 8VPA Design Document for GS11486
 9VPA Design Document for GS11485
 10VPA Design Document for GS11490
 11VPA Design Document for GS11491
 12VPA Design Document for GS11498
 13VPA Design Document for GS11499
 14VPA Design Document for GS11500
 15VPA Design Document for GS11501
 16VPA Design Document for GS11502
 17VPA Design Document for GS11503
 18VPA Design Document for GS11504
 19VPA Design Document for GS11482
 20VPA Design Document for GS11483
 21VPA Design Document for GS11478
 22VPA Design Document for GS11479
 23VPA Design Document for GS11480
 24VPA Design Document for GS11481
 25VPA Design Document for GS11484
 26VPA Design Document for GS11451
 27VPA Design Document for GS11452
 28VPA Design Document for GS11474
 29VPA Design Document for GS11475
 30VPA Design Document for GS11476
 31VPA Design Document for GS11477
 32VPA Design Document for GS11489
 33VPA Design Document for GS11450

Monitoring Reports

 1Monitoring Report for GS11896
 2Monitoring Report for GS11897
 3Monitoring Report for GS11898
 4Monitoring Report for GS11496
 5Monitoring Report for GS11505
 6Monitoring Report for GS11894
 7Monitoring Report for GS11895
 8Monitoring Report for GS11486
 9Monitoring Report for GS11485
 10Monitoring Report for GS11490
 11Monitoring Report for GS11491
 12Monitoring Report for GS11498
 13Monitoring Report for GS11499
 14Monitoring Report for GS11500
 15Monitoring Report for GS11501
 16Monitoring Report for GS11502
 17Monitoring Report for GS11503
 18Monitoring Report for GS11504
 19Monitoring Report for GS11482
 20Monitoring Report for GS11483
 21Monitoring Report for GS11478
 22Monitoring Report for GS11479
 23Monitoring Report for GS11480
 24Monitoring Report for GS11481
 25Monitoring Report for GS11484
 26Monitoring Report for GS11451
 27Monitoring Report for GS11452
 28Monitoring Report for GS11474
 29Monitoring Report for GS11475
 30Monitoring Report for GS11476
 31Monitoring Report for GS11477
 32Monitoring Report for GS11489

Verification Reports

 1Verification Report for GS11896
 2Verification Report for GS11897
 3Verification Report for GS11898
 4Verification Report for GS11496
 5Verification Report for GS11505
 6Verification Report for GS11894
 7Verification Report for GS11895
 8Verification Report for GS11486
 9Verification Report for GS11485
 10Verification Report for GS11490
 11Verification Report for GS11491
 12Verification Report for GS11498
 13Verification Report for GS11499
 14Verification Report for GS11500
 15Verification Report for GS11501
 16Verification Report for GS11502
 17Verification Report for GS11503
 18Verification Report for GS11504
 19Verification Report for GS11482
 20Verification Report for GS11483
 21Verification Report for GS11478
 22Verification Report for GS11479
 23Verification Report for GS11480
 24Verification Report for GS11481
 25Verification Report for GS11484
 26Verification Report for GS11451
 27Verification Report for GS11452
 28Verification Report for GS11474
 29Verification Report for GS11475
 30Verification Report for GS11476
 31Verification Report for GS11477
 32Verification Report for GS11489

MEC Africa Program – Microfinance for Solar Lamps & Efficient Cookstoves: Project Design & Monitoring Documents

In line with our commitment to transparency and integrity, we are providing all details of and access to audited documents pertaining to our carbon programs here. This initiative aims to ensure that stakeholders have access to program details and documentation in an easy-to-use way.

MEC Africa Program – Microfinance for Solar Lamps & Efficient Cookstoves

In both rural areas of Kenya and urban areas of Uganda, the predominant means of cooking involves traditional cook stoves using charcoal, wood, or kerosene, leading to significant indoor air pollution and adverse effects on human health. The lack of grid connection or frequent power outages in these regions necessitates the use of kerosene for indoor lighting, further contributing to indoor air pollution. The proposed project activity, spearheaded by MicroEnergy Credits Corporation (MEC), aims to address these challenges through the marketing, distribution, and financing of approximately 650,000 solar lighting systems (SLS) and 10,000 improved cook stoves (ICS) in Kenya, as well as 650,000 solar lamps and 75,000 improved cook stoves in Uganda.

This comprehensive initiative targets low-income households, community organizations, and small/medium enterprises, providing them with clean and renewable energy solutions for both cooking and lighting. MEC collaborates with project partners to establish a successful clean energy-lending program, overcoming barriers such as education, pricing, finance, and supply and aftersales service. The program includes training for project partners in implementing the lending initiative and incorporates a robust carbon credit monitoring and tracking system to quantify and document carbon emission reductions achieved through the adoption of clean energy. The utilization of carbon finance ensures the expansion and sustainability of the clean energy program in both regions. This report delves into the details of these initiatives, exploring their impact on environmental sustainability, human health, and the overall well-being of communities in Kenya and Uganda.

Project Design Documents

1VCS Design Document for Verra ID 2835
2VCS Design Document for Verra ID 2836  
3VCS Design Document for Verra ID 2837  
4VCS Design Document for Verra ID 2838 
5VCS Design Document for Verra ID 2839 

Monitoring Reports

1Monitoring Report for Verra ID 2835  
2Monitoring Report for Verra ID 2836  
3Monitoring Report for Verra ID 2837  
4Monitoring Report for Verra ID 2838 
5Monitoring Report for Verra ID 2839    

MEC India Program - Microfinance for Inverter LED Lamps: Project Design Document

The purpose behind MEC’s Grouped Project “Microfinance for Inverter LED lamps in India” is to reduce fossil-fuel based electricity consumption in the 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 mains power supply during availability and will switch to battery power when 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 will replace ICL lamps in households, which would have resulted in GHG emissions due to usage of ICL. Thus, the grouped project will lead to mitigation in 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.

Click here to see the project design document.

Click here to see the project details on the Verra registry.