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Webinar 2 | Apr-16 | Learning from Failure in Social Entrepreurship

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By Stewart Craine

“Failure” – the word usually carries a negative connotation. But for entrepreneurs, policymakers, and NGOs working to provide energy access to people in the “last mile”, failure can actually provide important lessons. Is failure an important ingredient to success?

In this webinar, we’ll gather experts who will talk openly about their experiences with failure from a variety of angles and why failure is actually an important element in successfully delivering energy access to remote communities.

What have they learned from these so-called “failures”? Must one fail to succeed? Most importantly, how can these stories of failure (and success) help remote villages to access energy, education, healthcare, etc.?

Our webinar series is a little different: each expert will speak for less than 10 minutes and will focus on their on-the-ground experience using photos to tell their story.

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Webinar 2 | Apr-16 | Learning from Failure in Social Entrepreurship

  1. 1. Thank you for this opportunity to present. The staff of VIA have helped 2 million people gain access to electricity in the last 15 years, and we would like to share some of the models and tools we are currently using in projects around the world.
  2. 2. Globally, about 200 million households spend $1/week or $10 billion/year on kerosene lighting, phone charging and diesel agro-processing services. If redirected towards renewable alternatives, this is sufficient to bring electricity to all by 2030. What is needed is investors that believe the poor will pay for this service, and supply 2-5 year loans.
  3. 3. This shows a brief summary of how staple crops are processed around the world, usually by women, taking up to 1 hour per day. A mill can often do this job at a cost of $0.02-0.05 per house, whereas a woman can early 10-20 times more than this if she makes some handicrafts or other things, so her labour and potential is being very much under-valued.
  4. 4. VIA is aiming not just to provide solar lighting and phone charging services to villages like many in the rapidly growing "Access to Energy" industry, but to provide a larger range of services that. There are two parts to the business - the projects we build and manage in villages either with our own investors or in partnership with others (such as Hivos here in Indonesia); and the second part of the business is a technical advice / consulting service where our tools, products and services are available to help others who are building similar projects.
  5. 5. If 1 hour per day is saved for each offgrid woman in rural villages, the saving in manual labour would be as much as the entire workforce of the UK or France. Other opportunities for saving time include fetching water and firewood
  6. 6. Here are some examples of the manual and solar-powered agricultural processes that our projects address. Shelling corn manually can be done at about 5-10 kg/hour, but the 500W corn sheller on the right does the same job in less than 5 minutes, at 200 kg/hour
  7. 7. In Sumba, in the late afternoon, the sound of stone pounding of corn into coarse flour can be heard. One hour of smashing corn kernals one at a time yields 1-2 kg, enough for one day, while a 750W DC solar mill can process 25-50 kg in one hour and easily serve a small village of less than 100 households. These villages are often too small to justify a larger 2-5kW diesel mill, and the cost of transporting crops to a diesel mill from a small village to a large village is often as costly as the processing itself, doubling the cost of agro-processing for small villages.
  8. 8. Rice hulling is a good example as well - almost all Sumba villagers take their rice to a mill for hulling, and pay as much for this transport as the milling cost. A small local 200-500W solar rice mill that processes 25-50 kg per hour can solve this problem, and quite cost-effectively.
  9. 9. In Indonesia, Hivos is aiming to make one island, Sumba, 100% renewable in the next 5-10 years. Village Infrastructure Angels is contracted to help design and project manage the offgrid portion.
  10. 10. Mapping where the poor lack access to electricity is helpful, but IEA data has poor levels of detail, and completely misses entire regions such as the Pacific (point to red ? on right of slide)
  11. 11. VIA is the Chair of the Working Group on mapping for the UN Foundation's Sustainable Energy for All program, and has filled in these data gaps, providing national and subnational data to help give higher quality data to the market. We now have 500 GIS map layers uploaded with over 2 million data points
  12. 12. In addition to high level planning, we also developed local mapping tools to immediately help organizations plan their next project. Low cost mapping of households from satellite imagery is one example - for $0.10 per household, we can generate previously unknown data of latitude and longitude of every house in the region. This is less than 0.1% of the cost of bring them electricity, so a cost- effective feasibility tool.
  13. 13. These house location points can then be connected together using the least amount of line length, via a minimum spanning tree algorithm in "R" programming language, and GIS processing. An example for Central Sumba here shows our long-term electrification plan for the poorest and least electrified part of the island. This network design also only costs $0.10/household.
  14. 14. What does "access to energy" mean? It is not just lighting and phone charging and consumer uses. Daytime uses of energy for the offgrid rural poor are agriculture focused, so agro-processing mills are a major need (such as hulling rice, grinding flour and grating cassava or coconut), and refrigeration is also important for health, while school electrification is also important for education. The International Energy Agency states 250-500 kWh/year is required, but has not accounted for advances in energy efficient design, such as white LED lighting and efficient TVs. VIA believes that this is a significant over-estimate, and "energy access for all" can be achieved by 2030 for 25-50% of the energy and cost that that the IEA believe is required, and are building projects to prove this hypothesis.
  15. 15. The current framework to describe "access to energy" is a Tier approach, but this lacks any reference to community-scale needs like mills and other shared facilities. So our suggestion is a Tier 2+ model is what "access to energy" should be defined as, needing about 100-200W per household.
  16. 16. A key focus on Sumba is providing not only solar lights and phone charging services, but also solar agro-processing mills, to show how solar can provide more productive uses of energy that currently are provided by diesel in offgrid regions.

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