Greenlight Planet is a for profit social business that develops and manufactures honest, reliable solar products designed to help people living off the electric grid.
Greenlight Planet was founded by T. Patrick Walsh, a University of Illinois student who spent part of 2005 working with the charity Engineers Without Borders in rural India. He saw that the residents, users of ubiquitous kerosene lamps, were not charity cases. Rather, they were savvy consumers demanding a better product. He designed and sold the first solar-lantern prototypes in 2006 in the state of Orissa: brighter and healthier than kerosene lamps, but affordable enough so people could purchase without subsidies.
The idea of Greenlight Planet was born. In 2007, Mayank Sekhsaria and Anish Thakkar joined Patrick as co-founders and the three set out for India and China to make Greenlight Planet a reality with the vision that smart design, efficient engineering and innovative distribution strategies could make dirty kerosene lanterns a thing of the past.
Around 200 million households representing 1 billion people across the world who do not have access to electricity. Since its inception in 2009, our partner, Greenlight Planet has sold over 4.5 million Sun KingTM Solar lighting and phone charging devices, impacting the lives of over 15 million people living in rural and under-electrified areas.
To achieve our mission of bringing affordable, best quality lighting to as many off-grid consumers as possible, we had to make it even easier for our consumers to switch over from unsafe kerosene lamps.” In a market filled with poor quality products and counterfeits, Sun King Easy BuyTMis a pay-as–you-go-solution which makes high quality solar lamps accessible to millions by lowering upfront payments and providing flexible financing options.
To do this, Greenlight Planet is planning a major move into the fintech space by integrating Angaza’s Pay-As-You-Go technology into upcoming Sun KingTMproducts through an innovative consumer financing program called Sun King Easy BuyTM. Thakkar explains, “To achieve our mission of bringing affordable, best quality lighting to as many off-grid consumers as possible, we had to make it even easier for our consumers to switch over from unsafe kerosene lamps.” In a market filled with poor quality products and counterfeits, Sun King Easy BuyTMis a pay-as–you-go-solution which makes high quality solar lamps accessible to millions by lowering upfront payments and providing flexible financing options.
“The expansion of off-grid energy solutions at scale is crucial to bring connectivity, opportunity, and security to populations that live away from the grid,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “Greenlight Planet’s strategy draws together clear development impact goals with a sound business plan and innovative partnerships to open up wider distribution. I’m looking forward to the results of OPIC’s support to them.”
About Greenlight Planet
Founded in 2007, Greenlight Planet is a leading US-based company focused on delivering honest, affordable energy to the world’s 1.2 billion off-grid consumers. The company has sold over 4.5 million of its award-winning Sun King™ solar light and energy devices to off-grid homes in 40 countries—1.8 million of these devices sold in the last twelve months. Today, Greenlight Planet has 400+ village direct sales agents located across India, Kenya and Uganda and 200+ full-time employees across 11 offices in the United States, Africa, India and China.
OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help address critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds, when commercial funding cannot be obtained elsewhere. Established as an agency of the U.S. Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers.
All OPIC projects adhere to high environmental and social standards and respect human rights, including worker’s rights. By mandating high standards, OPIC aims to raise the industry and regional standards of the countries where it funds projects. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 160 countries worldwide.
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