Lytyfy aims to eradicate energy inequity in India and their mission is to provide reliable and affordable energy services to low income rural customers. They promote clean energy access in rural India by synergizing community engagement, technology and finance.
Can you tell us a little about Lytyfy?
Lytyfy promotes clean energy access in rural India through community engagement, technology development and financing. The idea of Lytyfy germinated when my co-founder Deepak and I were living in rural parts of Bihar. We saw that there was huge acceptance and enthusiasm for the idea of meeting their energy requirements through solar energy. However, this idea was not getting implemented or adopted primarily due to the fact that customers did not have the purchasing power to buy this product without financial support. It was at this time that we thought of packaging our offerings with flexible payment options for the end user through our crowdfunding platform which reduces their transaction costs and the results were satisfactory. After testing our assumption, we decided to roll out Lytyfy in the Kosi region of Bihar.
Who are your target consumers? Do you facilitate financing for them?
Our target customers are low and middle income households living in rural areas in un/under electrified households. We perform credit assessment of our potential customers and help them raise loans through our online platform. Our platform is a gateway to connect urban people with their rural counterparts. We float projects wherein profiles of rural customers who want clean energy loans are put up. Based on the various parameters, supporters/investors visiting out website offer loans to these customers.
What is the business model you follow?
Our business model hinges on taking an integrated view of energy access wherein we attach equal importance to last mile delivery of good quality products and end user financing. We currently collect the repayments from the customers manually.
What have been the challenges and successes in this?
Consumer awareness and understanding with respect to technology has been a key challenge. We have been able to ensure 100% repayments on the loans that we provided for energy access. The average size of the loan is INR 3000 which is upto 50% of the average system cost to provide lighting and mobile charging services. We have disbursed 150 loans till now.
What do you think of the current environment for energy access work in India?
Solar technology has been making inroads in India for a long time and despite the widespread need for it, adoption is still relatively low. The needle should move from providing solar as a product to solar as a service which we feel will help immensely.
What are the upcoming projects that Lytyfy has taken?
We are raising loans for 200 households living in rural Purnea in Bihar. These households comprise of farmers, tribals, wage labourers living in hinterland. They are currently dependent on kerosene for their energy needs.
What are your plans for the future?
We hope to address the issue of end user financing for clean energy projects at a pan India level. Lack of end user financing is a major impediment in adoption of decentralized solar products especially by households belonging to low and middle income groups. This is the segment that we would like to focus on. We are also in the process of bringing institutional financiers on board to include this segment within their lending portfolio.
Finally, what role do you expect CLEAN to play in the work you are undertaking?
CLEAN has been instrumental in highlighting the Decentralized Renewable Energy space and we hope that CLEAN continues to do what it has been doing.