The role of private sector off-grid actors in addressing India's energy poverty: an analysis of selected exemplar firms delivering household energy

Anthony P. Heynen, Paul A. Lant, Srinivas Sridharan, Simon Smart, Chris Greig

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12 Citations (Scopus)


The Indian Government is making important inroads in addressing energy poverty in India, recently announcing the electrification of 100% of villages. Yet, approximately 300 million people are still without access to electricity. This vast population of energy poor, with no household connection to the electricity grid, represents a market for micro-level actors, particularly private sector firms providing off-grid solutions. However, due to the ever-expanding grid, such firms may face uncertainty and must carefully consider their value propositions and strategies. This research analyses ten exemplar firms in India's off-grid sector. Their responses, as part of a semi-structured interview approach, provided a unique ‘insider’ perspective on the role of the private sector that cannot be gained from secondary-data observations or existing literature. Two important observational clusters were found. Those firms more concerned about business risks from grid expansion generally exhibited a strong degree of social embeddedness, perhaps as a risk mitigation strategy. Firms less concerned about the grid generally had affordability as a core value proposition and operated in more remote locations. This dichotomy of perspectives gives some insight into the unique role of private sector actors in providing electricity to the dwellings of India's energy poor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-103
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2019


  • Electrification
  • Energy poverty
  • India
  • Private sector
  • Value propositions

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