Selco’s customers range from poor daily-wage laborers to institutions like schools and seminaries. All buy solar panels at the same rate: about $450 for a 40-watt system that can light several 7-watt bulbs for four hours between charges.
To make it work, Selco had to persuade rural banks to lend hundreds of dollars to people, like the rose pickers, who have almost no money – a tough sell. “Rural people don’t pay, I was told,” Hande recalls. Now fewer than 10 percent of his customers default, and Indian lenders have about $10 million available to rural customers for solar financing.
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