PAYGo PERFORM KPIs
Financial, operational, and portfolio quality indicators for the pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) solar industry
The PAYGo Performance, Reporting and Measurement (PERFORM) framework offers the PAYGo solar industry a standardized and transparent set of key performance indicators (KPIs). By adopting the KPIs, companies can track, benchmark, and improve performance while presenting a more accessible profile to investors, stimulating capital investment.
Developed by CGAP, GOGLA, and IFC Lighting Global in consultation with some 600 investors, PAYGo executives, and experts in energy and financial inclusion around the world, the PAYGo PERFORM KPIs are designed to meet the needs of companies and funders (donors and investors). All PAYGo solar companies are encouraged to adopt the KPIs and work toward making them the industry standard.
To learn more or for help with the KPIs, please reach out to us at [email protected].
Greater transparency and harmonization of accounting practices can help the industry advance. A new accounting brief from PAYGo PERFORM provides a first step in that direction.
The PAYGo PERFORM Excel tool allows users to fill out basic building blocks and calculate their results for the KPIs. It also includes guiding definitions for each building block.
Get a crash course in the PAYGo PERFORM KPIs and hear from some of the sector’s leading investors and PAYGo executives about the need for standardization.
Frequently Asked Questions
The PAYGo PERFORM KPIs are intended to serve as foundational indicators that enable the PAYGo industry to communicate and contextualize the financial performance, operational performance, and portfolio quality of PAYGo solar companies at a high level. As with other financial and accounting standards-setting initiatives, such as the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the fundamental value of the KPIs is their relevance to the PAYGo sector and their comparability, which in turn, encourages reporting and greater transparency. The intention is to define a set of simple yet adequate measures that collectively allow a clear and distinct profile of a PAYGo solar company to emerge. The metrics act as a starting point for more detailed analysis, according to the specific needs of the user, and for the establishment of industry-wide benchmarking.
The PAYGo PERFORM KPIs were developed between 2017 and 2021 through an open, transparent industry process that involved over 600 stakeholders. The initiative was led by Lighting Global, the World Bank Group’s platform to support sustainable off-grid solar markets; GOGLA, the global association for the off-grid solar energy industry; and CGAP, a think tank housed at the World Bank that works to empower poor people through financial services.
The process of developing the KPIs was open to all interested stakeholders, and roughly 60 companies and investors volunteered to participate in working groups from 2017 to 2021 to develop the PAYGo PERFORM KPIs. In addition, roughly 600 PAYGo executives, investors, and experts in energy and financial inclusion were consulted throughout the process. Finally, eight companies, representative of the PAYGo sector worked with MicroFinanza Rating (MFR), a private and independent international rating agency specialized in inclusive finance, to pilot the KPIs over a six-month period (for more information on the Data Collection Pilot, see this Report detailing the results of the pilot and how they informed the development of the KPIs). Without the commitment and time of all these stakeholders, the curation of the PAYGo PERFORM KPIs would not have been possible.
The drive toward a generally accepted set of KPIs for the PAYGo solar sector is rooted in the desire to promote a healthy industry — one that can sustainably deliver energy access and a positive social, economic and environmental impact. Over the past decade, the industry has demonstrated the potential to achieve these goals. To unlock this potential at scale, however, PAYGo solar companies will need to continually improve their performance and attract more diverse capital investment. Widespread use of a consistent set of KPIs can help the industry to achieve both of these objectives by providing a common language for comparison and analysis. As Alex Brummeler, head of finance innovation at Azuri Technologies, said: “The standardized KPIs will help companies and investors better understand the risks, rewards, and impact of the PAYGo industry as well as unlock the necessary financing to achieve SDG 7."
Increased investment into a sustainable off-grid solar sector is highly desirable in its own right, but the KPIs will be beneficial in other ways too. In particular, they will help companies measure and benchmark their performance and find areas for improvement. Better informed businesses can be more responsive to client needs and offer better service to their customers. This, in turn, can improve customer satisfaction and drive-up repeat sales and repayment rates in the long-term, benefitting the overall financial position of a PAYGo company.
Standardized periodic reporting and benchmarking make it easier to assess industry risks and understand the potential for growth and return. In the current PAYGo solar environment, which does not have such standards, most investors are hard-pressed to make well-informed investment decisions and to design mitigation strategies for risks they are willing to take on. Answering questions like, “How is the industry progressing on the path to profitability?”, “How is portfolio quality evolving?”, and “How are companies responding to macroeconomic challenges?” are costly and error-prone pursuits. In fact, during the development of the KPIs, numerous donors and investors pointed to the opacity of the risk in the sector as a barrier to investment. As Avi Jacobson, investment director at Sunfunder, said: “Standardizing metrics can help attract the diverse array of investors needed for the sector to scale up to meet energy access, economic development, and decarbonization goals.”
Since the PAYGo PERFORM KPIs launched in June 2021, numerous stakeholders have started using or are planning to use the KPIs. These include Angaza, Azuri Technologies, CDC Group, Oolu Solar, Pawame, Persistent, Rural Spark, Solaris Offgrid, and SunFunder.
Solar-powered systems and appliances made affordable through PAYGo financing have the power to jointly address the challenges of energy access and financial inclusion for the more than 1 billion people — mostly rural and low-income — without reliable access to electricity. But PAYGo solar is a nascent industry made up of young companies with evolving business models. This makes it challenging for funders to do due diligence and make informed funding decisions, and many of these companies are having trouble raising debt financing at suitable terms to fuel their growth. Standardization can help PAYGo companies to grow and bring energy access and financial services to more low-income households.
Driving widespread adoption of the PERFORM KPIs across the PAYGo solar industry will require both companies and investors to champion their use and lead by example. Are you an early adopter or interested in learning more about how you can help to promote a more transparent, sustainable and impactful off-grid solar industry? The PERFORM team is available to help you learn more about the KPIs and how to use them. Reach out to us at [email protected] to learn more about how your PERFORM KPI story can set a powerful example for your industry peers.