Through our own programs as well as by working with partners, FINCA is expanding access to clean energy.
Poverty and lack of access to modern forms energy often go hand-in-hand. The use of candles or kerosene for lighting and wood or charcoal for cooking has significant environmental and health impacts. In the communities in which FINCA works, people rely on these polluting fuels because they are not connected to the electrical grid or electricity is too expensive.
BrightLife is a social enterprise that FINCA founded in Uganda to bring clean energy products to low-income communities.
Less than half Ugandan households have access to electricity. This forces many people to light their homes with kerosene and to cook over a three-stone fire. These technologies have been around for generations and emit toxic gases that harm occupants and always run the risk of starting house fires.
BrightLife offers access to solar home systems and efficient cookstoves, selling, financing, installing and providing customer support for the devices. These new technologies are safer, cleaner and ultimately cheaper than the open flames that people were using.
FINCA is bringing its decades of experience in financial inclusion to expand access to clean and sustainable energy. For many people, the biggest hurdle to switching to clean energy is the cost of system. Giving them access to financing allows them to purchase their new clean energy system and can set them on the path for even higher levels of financial inclusion.
BrightLife’s pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) financing makes solar home systems affordable. People with few resources and little or no credit start off by making a down payment they can afford. Customers then make payments based on their usage until they own the system. Clients also build a credit history through PAYGo financing, allowing them them to open a bank account and access larger loans in the future.
Like all FINCA programs, BrightLife is committed to responsible finance and consumer protection. BrightLife sales agents transparently communicate product costs before making a sale. They ensure that every customer understands the product’s cash price as well as the full price paid if PAYGo financing is used.
Stories of Resilience
FINCA focuses its energy work in sub-Saharan Africa because that’s where energy poverty is most acute. 77% of all people living without access to electricity reside in Sub-Saharan Africa. The stories below demonstrate just how life-changing energy access can be in these communities.