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2015-04-16

Delhi based Smart Power India secures $75M fund from The Rockefeller Foundation

Smart Power India aims to promote economic development in rural areas by providing access to reliable energy from green sources.

The Rockefeller Foundation today launched ‘Smart Power for Rural Development’, an initiative that aims to bring electricity to 1000 villages over the coming three years, providing power to 1 million Indians in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

The Foundation has funded $75 million for the creation of a new organization –‘Smart Power India’ responsible for expanding the Smart Power model which uses mini-grid technology for both lighting and productive use.

Headquartered in New Delhi, and led by CEO Jaideep Mukherji, Smart Power India aims to promote economic development in rural areas by providing access to reliable energy from green sources.

The Smart Power for Rural Development initiative aligns closely with the Indian government’s vision of providing access to reliable power throughout the country.

The initiative’s focus will be on India and it aims to promote sustainable business models that deliver renewable energy and spur economic development among an unreached rural population. Smart Power India will partner with energy service companies (ESCOs), telecom tower operators, investors, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and government agencies to provide 1,000 villages with access to power in the next three years.

Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation, said, “The Rockefeller Foundation is thrilled to launch Smart Power for Rural Development in India, with the goal of providing access to electricity and transforming the lives of one million people in 1000 villages in rural India. Every step towards increasing rural access to modern energy sources can help India reach its full economic potential. We believe the provision of power will open up greater opportunities for economic development in rural areas- paving the way for a more inclusive economy. The Smart Power model we are launching today is a unique market based innovation that can support India as it achieves its ambitious electrification goals.”

The company’s official release stated that the Smart Power model is an innovative way to deliver clean energy via decentralized mini-grids. The mini-grids provide market opportunities to investors and will be able to integrate into the national grid system which the government is extending. Under the Smart Power model, an anchor tenant, for example a telecom company operating local cell towers, would serve as the base demand for power and make it profitable for an Energy Service Company Operator (ESCO) to build a power plant which is large enough to serve both lighting and productive loads.
Smart Power India, a new Indian led organization based in Delhi, will be The Rockefeller

Foundation’s key partner in working with Energy Service Companies, private sector partners, investors, NGOs, and the Indian government to reach the goal of bringing electricity to underserved villages in India. Smart Power India, will provide support for the entire ecosystem needed for mini-grids to be successful, sustainable, and scalable.

Prior to joining Smart Power India, CEO Jaideep Mukherji spent two and a half years with d.light, a local social enterprise that works to bring affordable solar lighting devices to people in the developing world. Mukherji has a proven track record and over 30 years of experience in innovation and market development.

Jaideep Mukherji, CEO, Smart Power India, said, “After the last few years spent in the renewable energy space, I am thrilled to take on the new role as CEO of Smart Power India. The Smart Power model is an innovative solution for what has been an intractable problem in India. We have a unique opportunity at this time given that the government is supporting investments in rural electrification to spur economic development. The telecom revolution and the proliferation of cell towers, and the private sector partners looking for new avenues for investment can also address social challenges. Now is the time for India to have an energy revolution, and I believe the Smart Power model stands at the forefront of supporting that vision.”

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