What really happens in the field

 

Join a virtual tour through some of the villages Rural Spark is active
and hear about some personal stories from actual users.

 

A CHANGE IN PEOPLES LIFE

Visiting the Rural Spark Local Energy Suppliers in the Bankey Bazar cluster is impressive as the effect of the solutions actually comes to life. You’ll find all of the Local Energy Suppliers expressing the additional income that comes through renting out lamps has been helpful. True, a very realistic figure would show that they gain around 300-400 INR (after paying their monthly installments) on an average therefore making it clear that the sum is not that huge to transform their lives completely or be such that they could depend on this as a source of income only. 

However, as demand increases, so will their income. With the new kit (allowing for more different applications to be charged, improving the business model on the village level) we typically see the income increase to around 1.000 INR.  And yes, in terms of gaining respect and networking, and making friends, helping children study for longer periods, it has obviously helped a lot. It has on a whole made the village more interactive where people are coming together and interacting more.


Local Energy Suppliers

Over the last years, we learned a lot from our customers. They showed us so many new ways of using our products. We have customers renting out study rooms, schools running TV’s on surplus energy from local energy suppliers, people lighting sportmatches and so many more really cool applications. Our customers, becoming village level entrepreneurs, create and develop their own village level business models.

As our Local Energy Suppliers provide energy to their fellow villagers, our solution is able to reach the 'bottom' of the base of the pyramid - untouched by most of the solutions out there. In stead of enormous operational costs for rural distribution companies, Rural Spark provides Local Energy Suppliers with an opportunity to earn money and confidence by providing energy to their fellow villagers. We see women being empowered, providing for their family and village. We see customers becoming village level entrepreneurs growing their businesses. We see people having access to electricity and increasing their capacity over time. We see a network - plug & play, smartly distributed- growing.

 

We should approach villagers in rural India as resilient and creative entrepreneurs
as well as value-demanding consumers.
— C. K. Prahalad

the floor to USERS OF THE KIT and their customers

Rural Spark's local energy supplier model builds upon local village dynamics. People are respected to run their own operations in the village which greatly smoothens the introduction of small energy products in rural villages. The models moves away from telling the villages how to develop and allows for locally designed business innovations, resulting in more respect and sense of responsibility for the systems. Meet some of our customers:

 


Together with rural grid expansion

As said, there is grid electricity available. Interesting here is to see the response to the grid when it arrives. This phenomena can probably be show best in a graph (see above). Many people stopped using the products from the local energy supplier when it was announced the grid was coming. They could see electricity poles being erected. This hope created a drop in demand. However, after a few weeks, it turned out that the grid was not delivering it promises and the demand increased again for the off-grid products. The Rural Spark Energy Kit allows for capturing the grid power when available, as Rural Spark believes in a hybrid model where grid- and off-grid (sustainable) solutions together provide a reliable network where rural villages could actually contribute significantly to the serious (and increasing) energy deficit in India.

Having access to energy, aspirations increase. Fans and TVs are increasingly in demand. They expect us to diversify ourselves in products for sure. Fan and TV are the main demands. Luckily the new Rural Spark Energy Kit will actually address this demand, allowing it to run both 5V as well as 12V applications like TVs and larger fans.