Case study

Compare: Practices & Results of a Selection of Solar Power/Microfinance Projects in West Africa

Promoting development in poor communities by self-sufficient and sustaining activities

This document presents a comparative study by Spanda Foundation.

Spanda’'s Mantra Project combines solar energy and microfinance in developing countries to help those in poverty to use solar power to start small businesses. Spanda conducted the study to select a number of projects involving solar power completed in the West African countries.

The study compares the practices and results of other projects with related goals, based on the experience in the planning and structuring of the Mantra Project. Findings indicate that:

  • Projects seeking to combine the provision of solar panels and microloans should employ group and individual business loan schemes;
  • A savings scheme is also important to improve loan economy;
  • Eligibility of business loan should include savings, evaluation of business performance and a co-signer;
  • Solar power panels can be financed in different ways depending on usage of electricity;
  • Installation and maintenance of solar power panels requires technical knowledge from some MFI staff;
  • Fund raising will be a challenge in the start-up phase for projects not relying on raising funds from the capital markets.

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