- Paperback: 226 pages
- Publisher: MCRE Verlag UG (7 February 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 3943310000
- ISBN-13: 978-3943310009
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.4 x 22.9 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,52,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Green Energy for a Billion Poor: How Grameen Shakti Created a Winning Model for Social Business Paperback – Import, 7 Feb 2012
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I had heard about the great potentials of Microfinance during previous studies and became very excited when I got to know that this miraculous tool has successfully been applied in combination with Renewable Energy technologies by Grameen Shakti (GS) in Bangladesh.
As not much detail literature could be found on GS I was tremendously pleased to discover Nancy's book: "GREEN ENERGY FOR A BILLION POOR", which became my most valuable guide as preparation for my study trip as well as during my stay in Bangladesh. It enabled me to gather a comprehensive view of GS's accomplishments. Nancy's book as precious base for my investigation allowed me to thoroughly understand the needs of the poor and it provided great insight on the key success factors for sustainably promoting REN in rural areas of developing countries. This book paved the way for me to jump well equipped into the field and to undertake fruitful discussions with GS customers and GS employees for my research. I was also very delighted when I got the chance to meet Nancy in person in Dhaka as our study trips overlapped by coincidence. I am convinced that the GS model can offer great help for spreading Renewable Energy technologies and for helping the poor to lift themselves out of poverty all around the world. Thus, I highly recommend reading Nancy's book and to help disseminating the valuable know-how gathered by GS and I want to thank Nancy for her on-going dedication to make the findings more easily accessible.
Whether your answer is yes or no, in both cases you should read this book. It does not only prove that it is possible to run a successful business in a rural developing world environment. More importantly, it teaches you how a different way of thinking opens more than business opportunities. It defines business in a very new way: here it is not only about satisfying a customer’s demand. It is more about creating a market and then understanding and managing its very diverse and sensitive dynamics. This is a whole new dimension of business and it is so well researched, understood and presented by Nancy Wimmer that one gets very motivated and excited to follow this example of Grameen Shakti.
Without this book so many secrets of the way of successfully doing business with the poor in rural areas of developing countries would still be in the dark – unknown to the world. Because Nancy Wimmer reveals important secrets about this new dimension of business I was able to realize the real challenges for (B)energy and our mobile biogas technology, before we actually faced them. By developing mobile biogas technology on a low tech and low cost basis the foundation for our business was created. And although a social business model was defined from the beginning, my real eagerness was generated from this book. It taught me that understanding the local markets and then using all means of creativity and new ways of thinking to reach the new customers with a product designed for them would be the most interesting part of all. Knowing that it is possible gave me the necessary optimism to start and now to run (B)energy the way we do!
The book describes solar home systems, improved biomass cook stoves and biogas cooking systems. Combined with supplemental technical information that is easily obtained from journals, the book allowed these topics to be efficiently and enjoyably taught. Technology, however, is only part of the equation. Engineers should know, and even master, the art of rural business. A good sample of this content can be found in Nancy Wimmer, The Art of Rural Business, Journal of Management for Global Sustainability, Vol. 1, No. 2 (2013).
Some of the questions that the book helped to answer include: What makes rural electrification in a developing country difficult? What are the main characteristics of rural off-grid energy markets in those countries? How will potential markets vary? Which markets look promising (from a social entrepreneurial and economic point of view)? Why is electricity important for the rural customer? What form of electricity is marketable? In what way can it deviate from energy services in industrialized countries? What are the key ingredients of a successful strategy for off-grid rural electrification?
The business environment and the market in the rural areas of developing nations is hard to visualize for those with no first-hand experience. "Green Energy for a Billion Poor" successfully gives its readers the benefits of the experience of its author, who has been on the ground studying Grameen Shakti for several decades. Her book gives a unique and invaluable behind the scenes picture from several perspectives by describing the development of Grameen Shakti through the eyes of the engineers and managers who were in the villages innovating, developing and maintaining it. I strongly recommend this book for those interested developing renewable energy businesses and those tasked with teaching how science, engineering, business and cultural awareness has already created change on a massive and exponentially increasing scale.
Greg P. Smestad, Ph.D.
Until Shakti’s intervention to improve the access to electricity of these disadvantaged people in 1996, PV was only believed to be a demonstration technology; and installation of PV systems was merely a profile raising exercise for many national and international organisations. Grameen Shakti realised how access to electricity can transform the lives of the rural population and stimulate the local economy, and took up the challenge of lighting up the faces that would otherwise have remained in the dark.
This book is a blueprint of the development of Grameen Shakti’s successful Solar PV business for rural electrification using Microfinance that has now become a unique model and being replicated around the Globe. It is not a case study rather it provides an in-depth knowledge for the practitioners, researchers and policy makers on a number of essential aspects of establishing a PV business. These include responding to the needs and affordability of rural people, providing an optimum level of customer service, developing a long-term and trust worthy customer relationship, developing local expertise, introducing innovative ideas to help develop entrepreneurs, and most importantly making a commitment to help the poor.
Nancy Wimmer looks very deeply into the concept of Shakti’s Solar PV business development and offers a practical guidance for creators of social business. She describes Grameen Shakti’s operations and services in a way that is easy to follow, interesting to read and contains valuable information about the development of this innovative and replicable approach to rural electrification.
This book is an invaluable reading for professionals who want to establish their career in Solar PV programme development for rural electrification, and I would recommend this book for graduate courses. It is fair to say that I would have gained more knowledge on successful renewable energy programme development if I had this book in my Renewable Energy postgraduate course.