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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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Amazon.com: HASH(0xa00b3af8) out of 5 stars 17 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa00c742c) out of 5 stars 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.
HASH(0xa00c793c) out of 5 stars 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.
HASH(0xa00c7c3c) out of 5 stars 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.
HASH(0xa00c7e58) out of 5 stars Empowering 25 June 2014
By Michael A Sizemore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As a person striving to integrate himself in the social enterprise world, this book provided the necessary motivation, background, and information to continue my progress in this space.

Nacy provides not only the inspiration (both in and outside the book), but also the necessary technical data in order to keep an engineer satisfied. This book gives a great blueprint for furthering the field and setting up replication for the social enterprise model. She couples this with a good focus on the human aspect of sustaining a social enterprise

I would recommend reading this book twice, both in German and English :).
HASH(0xa00c7bd0) out of 5 stars Excellent Recommendation for entrepreneurs !! 25 January 2014
By Geetha S - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a very simple insight into a not-for-profit organization (Grameen Shakthi) operating out of Bangladesh making it a "solar nation" and motivating others to help over 1.6 billion energy-starved people all over the world. It is an excellent book for those who want to help the poor and needy. The author is very helpful and responsive and can help put you through the necessary resources to build your own "Grameen Shakti"

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