BANGALORE: Harish Hande is in the business of spreading sunshine. When he set up his company in 1995, he wanted to dispel the myth that the poor cannot afford sustainable technologies and that social ventures cannot be run as commercial entities.
Selco Solar shows it can be done. For 17 years, this for-profit social enterprise has been lighting up low-income homes, providing sustainable energy solutions and financial services. It has sold, serviced and financed solar products to 1.5lakh homes in Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar and Bengal. It offers guarantee mechanisms so the poor have access to loans, and rental models for hawkers and slum-dwellers.