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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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A Fascinating Story 23 June 2012
By Siglind Bruhn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Based on her field studies of Grameen Shakti's admirable work for the poor in rural Bangladesh and personal statements of those on the ground, Nancy Wimmer tells the story of the Grameen Bank's sister company, Grameen Shakti Social Business, which brings green electricity even to the remotest villages. She succeeds superbly in painting a lively picture of Shakti's daily operations and presents what could be called a case study for sustainable business. The bank's model of entrepreneurship challenges the common assumption that there is no viable alternative to the systems of self-interested (neo-liberal) capitalism and altruistic charity. Wimmer's book not only reveals Grameen Shakti's innovative approach to business but also why it is so successful.
Want to know how to fight poverty & climate change - READ THIS BOOK 27 December 2014
By Jacqueline Posch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
persistent high levels of POVERTY & environmental degradation / human-induced CLIMATE CHANGE ... two highly pressing interlinked themes which captured my interest and made me decide to investigate more in-depth. Thus, at the end of my "Renewable Energy" Master course I packed my bags and headed towards Dhaka.
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.
Enlightening! 4 October 2014
By Katrin Puetz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Is there an alternative to subsidized programs and aid-funded projects to introduce new technologies to rural people in developing countries? Are you ready to give up your view on “poor” people’s inability to help themselves?
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!
Book Used for Professor Smestad's Energy Class 28 January 2014
By L. Cowan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've recently used Nancy Wimmer's book at Santa Clara University in California for my graduate engineering class on, "Distributed and Renewable Energy in the Developing World." It was a success and, to my knowledge, this is the first use of the book for this purpose. My students learned more about Grameen Shakti's proven and time-tested sustainable business model for renewable energy distribution and utilization. Through the book, they were inspired to go beyond their technology-based disciplines and they were surprised to learn the methods of a company that can make a profit and use the generated funds towards helping to build local rural businesses that utilize its renewable energy products. One unique aspect of the book is its description of the creation of the Grameen Technology Centers, where women engineers train village energy entrepreneurs for local production and repair as the business expands.

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.
A blueprint of the development of a successful rural electrification model 9 January 2014
By Anis Zaman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book unveils the secret of a winning story of Grameen Shakti's development and establishment of a successful business model of supplying Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems for rural electrification. Bangladesh, where access to grid electricity is limited to less than 30% of its population, faces a number of severe challenges including lack of suitable environment for nighttime child education, poor indoor air quality due to kerosene lamps, and shorter evening working hours inhibiting local economic activities. It is almost certain that the country would never be able to connect its vast population with its grid network, as doing so would be not only very expensive but also impractical.

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.

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