Introduction India’s economy hasbeen growing in a faster rate and with large population of about 1.3 billion;the power sector has become one such determinant that defines the IndianEconomy.
As on 30.11.2017, the installed power capacity in India is around330.
8GW, with the dominance in the power generated by coal. Presently, 192GW ofpower is generated by Coal alone, followed by renewable energy of 61 GW. (Authority, 2017).This 61 GW of RESconstitutes 4.4GW small hydro, 32.7GW wind power, 8.3 GW of biomass power and 15.
6 GW of solar power. (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, 2017).India being adeveloping Country has rapidly growing energy need due to growingindustrialization and growing population. Today’s modern society cannotnormally exist without electric energy.
The energy sector has been facing a lotof challenges to meet this growing demand. There has been increase inelectricity per capita consumption, increase in power fluctuations, fuel supplyproblems, shortages and quality issues in case of coal, lower domestic gasproduction, increased fossil fuel imports, high share of green house gasesemitted from the conventional thermal power plants and lack of access toelectricity to one fourth of the population. (Agency, 2015)Looking on to the aboveproblems, the renewable energy source seems to be the only solution for thefuture energy crises. India has already put forward its step in this direction.
It has already set up an ambitious goal to increase renewable power capacity to175 GW by 2022 ,with 100 GW of solar , 60 GW of wind , 10 GW of Bio energy and5 GW of small hydro, thus making India a clean energy leader. (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, 2017)Meeting such hugetargets requires innovative renewable policies; innovative business models etc,hence making the role of entrepreneurs very vital in energy sector. Theinterest of Government of India and its policy driven environment in renewablesector has enabled many large and small enterprises to enter into this sector.Many entrepreneurs in these sectors have been trying to create viableinnovative business model to generate power for different consumer segmentusing renewable energy sources. Society has categorised such entrepreneurs intocorporate, social and newly originated green entrepreneurs.This paper mainlyfocuses on the importance of social entrepreneurs in the renewable energyinnovation in India, however the presence of vast kind of entrepreneurs inrenewable sector has prompted us to ask certain questions –How are social entrepreneurdifferent from the present corporate entrepreneurs in the renewable energysector in India?-Why has the role of socialentrepreneurs become so important in renewable sector in Indian context?-What kind of role dothey play in this sector, any challenges faced by them, drivers that motivatethem to enter into this sector? Social Entrepreneurs Vs Corporateentrepreneurs As per the name suggestsocial entrepreneurs primary objective is to create social value while for acorporate entrepreneur it would be a secondary objective. Social entrepreneurs can be defined as “high impact ventures thataddress long standing socio-environmental problems, focus on long termcollaborative community capacity building ,rely on collective wisdom andexperience ,foster creation of knowledge and networks and facilitate sustainedpositive social change” (Stokols, 2011).
Contrary to socialentrepreneurs ,Corporate entrepreneursare those with strong commercial objective of economic value creation through wealth maximization of shareholders .They grow around theobjective of meeting market demand profitability . (Stokols, 2011). As per the renewableenergy sector, it is interesting to note that both corporate and socialentrepreneurs perform the same activity but with very different objectives.
Corporate entrepreneurs focus on the technology, business and innovation whilesocial entrepreneurs would focus on renewable energy as tool for social change.Hence social entrepreneurs are the one who pay emphasis on those who aremarginalized and poor. For profit corporate enterprises would cater to thosemarkets which are potential of profit-generation while social enterprises playa significant role in rural electrification with off –grid energy solutions.Importance of Social entrepreneurs inIndian renewable sector Apart from the variousenergy issues faced by India as discussed earlier, there are many socialproblems which play major concern in Indian society. Despite the growth ineconomy in the last few years ,there are still social inequalities and problemswhich India needs to overcome .Poverty-Water ShortageLack of EducationAgricultural challengesPoor LivelihoodCatering the abovesocial problems is of major importance. Energy, directly or indirectly has astrong relation with income generation, health care, education facility,improved living standards, reduction in poverty and may more matters pertainingto human development standard.
Hence bonding the energy solution to the social solutionto create a sustainable model is the need of the hour and this can only be doneby a social entrepreneur. Thus, making the role of social entrepreneurs muchmore vital in Indian context.Challenges faced by social Entrepreneursin India Lackof Governmental Support: There is no formal recognition as a sector intheir own in the Government which deprive the people to understand what theactual difference between social entrepreneurs and other entrepreneurs. Due tothe lack of this understanding there is no key investment policy specific tothis sector been formulated by government which makes social entrepreneursdeprive of any incentives, tax concessions including tax holiday and subsidies.Lack of such governmental support creates hindrance for social businessdevelopment in IndiaLackof Entrepreneurial education: There is nocurriculum for entrepreneurship development in current education system and ismostly limited to management institutes. Hence young generation do notunderstand its importance and are not able to foster their thinking in thatdirection.
Even the management schools lack the term Social entrepreneurshipmaking it difficult to find a skilled and experience promoter for socialenterprises.Poorfinancial assistance: In India, social entrepreneurs facelack of financial assistance Usually Banks avoid to provide loan to the socialentrepreneurs. They have a belief that they are like charity organisation andwon’t be able to run long time business and hence won’t be profitable. Hencemany social entrepreneurs either spend their own funds or try to raise fundthrough local lenders or venture capitalists.Socialand Cultural effect: Usually people belief that all newventures are profit driven organisation and hence become reluctant to the newmethods and technology provided by them. They are not able to distinguish thedifference between a social enterprise and a profit driven enterprise,resulting to the detoriation of social business developmentGovernmentbureaucracy: In India, it has been seen that fundingto social enterprises is mainly through foreign funding. This is because thereis no difference in terms of government policy between regular entrepreneur anda social entrepreneur which makes assess to government fund very cumbersome.Gettingapprovals is time consuming and requiresinvolvement of many departmentsDriversfor Social entrepreneurs in renewable energy sector GovernmentRole:Eventhough there is no legal structure for social entrepreneurship in Indiangovernment, still there are three main categories in which the government isable to encourage Social entrepreneurship-MSME engagement, government-backedventure capital fund and policyformulation Governmenthas been slowly understanding the importance of ” social entrepreneurship “andhence have started formulating policies and regulation that would directlyaffect the social enterprises.
SEBI ,the financial market regulator of Indiahave tried to formulate policy and regulate “Social ventures fund” which statedthat the funds are for the investorsseeking muted returns in returns for the social gain .In2010 National Innovation Council was set up to build up the development inInnovation sector. Fund of around $200million has been parked as governmentbacked venture capital which would be utilised to address development ininnovative sectors. (Bank, 2012)UnderMSME sector, government grants loans to for the companies whose initial outlayis below $2million and as many social enterprises fall in this category, theycan be benefited by this. Recently government ha proposed to spend around $1.1billion over further development in MSME sector. (Bank, 2012)Inenergy sector there is no approval require for setting up a mini-griddelivering power within 3km radius.
Even MNRE has accounted capital subsidiesfor mini-grid technologies and solar productsRole of Social entrepreneursSocial Entrepreneursare the one who can combine and create a bridge between the business sector andsocial sector with the sole motive of addressing social problems. In India manypeople live around remote and inaccessible area which makes it difficult to connectthem to the grid system. Large amount of environmental and heath issues arearising due to inefficient sources used by the rural population.
Thus, Socialentrepreneurs can enter into this rural energy market with a n objective toprovide innovative business model for enabling access to affordable and cleanenergy.Large renewableprojects set up by the government or private organisation which would supplyenergy to the existing grid system won’t be that useful for the people who arepoor and leave around remote areas. Hence putting up decentralised renewableenergy system or micro grids could be an option to cater their energy needs.
Waste- to-energy projects is also a prime focus for the social entrepreneurs.However people ofdifferent areas have different economic capability, geographical challenges,and social challenges specific to their own society. Providing them with energysolutions also needs a deeper understanding about various other socialchallenges faced by them and hence new innovative products and approaches needsto be designed which can cater both energy and social needs of the people inthat society and in turn also fulfil the overall renewable demand of thecountry. Such innovative approaches could be brought about by a socialentrepreneur.Role of Socialentrepreneur is to provide a sustainable business model which is selfsufficient in its own way and does not depend totally on any outside charity ordonations. Sustainability can be achieved when there is a balance between theenvironment, economy and society.
Case Study: TheSolar Initiative by Barefoot CollegeGeneral Overview “By giving the rural poor access to practical technology, BarefootCollege demystifies technology and puts it in the hands of the villagersthemselves.” – Mr. Bunker Roy, founder of Barefoot CollegeBarefootCollege in Tilonia, India was founded by Bunker Roy in the year 1972 with thesimple belief that the solution to the problems faced by the rural poor peoplelies within the community, their own old traditions and new technologies whichrequires some adaptation to their situation.
Basedon this belief Bunker Roy Started up a Solar Lightening Initiative in the year1990 in order to provide rural solar electrification to the villages which areinaccessible, remote and non-electrified.Innovative Approach:Theidea was not based on any innovative product but was mainly focused on aninnovative methodology used to solve the age old problem of darkness in theremote villages. The methodology used is quite different from the traditionalprocess used by other renewable organisations, which makes it remarkable in itsown way.
The methodology involves-Atfirst the a village which is remote and unelectrified in selected for thisprogrammeThevillage community are explained about the services and then asked to select twomiddle age women from the community who could go and attain solar training forsix months in Barefoot College. Selection of Women are for a surprise to thevillage community, however they are insisted and persuaded to do so.EarlierBarefoot used to train young, illiterate and semi-illiterate men and women,however with time they realized that the middle age mothers and grandmothersare the best candidate as they are very humble and easy to teach .They have alot more interest to do something for village and would never leave the villagehowever a young women after marriage has to leave the village and a young menwith new skill and knowledge would tend to leave his village in search of abetter job.
TheTrainees come from different parts of India and other developing countries butilliteracy and language does not create a barrier in their learning rather theylearn through sign language ,shapes ,drawings ,colors and symbols.They are nottaught by any formal professionals rather are taught by the semi illiteratevillage people who already have gain experience in Barefoot solar programmesearlier.Inmere six months they learn how to install solar panels ,link batteries, how tohandle complex charge controllers and inverters, how to build solar laterns andto establish a local electronic workshop where they can carry out maintenanceand repair work themselves.Barefootbelieved that illiteracy and education is two different things. Illiteracy isthe one that a child gains from school while education is what we learn fromfamily, environment and personal experience.
Hence this keen interest andbelief to work for their own community enable these women to learn such designirrespective of their old age .These trained women are later termed as “SOLARMAMAS”Aftertraining these Solar Mamas return back to their own villages and install solarpanels and start solar electrifying each house without the assistance of anyqualified engineer. They even carry out the maintenance and repair work bythemselves for which they are paid monthly by the village communitythemselves-usually the amount the used to append on kerosene before.
Later theyshare their skill among other women in the community making them selfsufficient.Sustainableaspects of the programmeTherewere certain aspects and criteria followed by the barefoot college which themade this programme unique and sustainable in such a long run.Bonding with other Social problems:Apart from solving the energy issue through the solar electrification programme,Barefoot tried to bond this energy solution to solve other major socialproblems of the community.Forexample: In the Tilonia village were the solar programme was first started,lack of asses to drinking water was the major issue.
Barefoot stared trainingthe villager about solar powered water desalination plant which could providethem drinking water. Apart from this they taught people the importance ofage-old practice of harvesting rain water. They also provided solutions indams, water mapping and testing all of which was done by the village people themselves.Thissolar programme also enabled the introduction of night school run through solarlight. Women’s were also taught how to built and use Solar Water heaters andparabolic solar cookers .Involvement of Community and making themself-sufficient: Community involvement in any newtechnology developed for welfare of the community defines the sustainability ofthe technology.
ForExample: In the barefoot Solar programme, at first Community gathers togetherto understand the advantages of electricity and possibility of village beingsolar powered. Community is explained that the service provided to them won’tbe free of cost and they must decide how much they can contribute monetarilytowards the maintenance and repair. Usually the amount is based on what theyspend on kerosene.
Thus, relieving them from the sense of dependability anddeveloping sense of self-sufficiency among them.Later community itself is askedto select two members for training .Henceinvolvement of community in every step helped to develop a faith and trusttowards the Barefoot College.Partnership with various Organisations:Success of the solar programme is because of the partnership network developedby the Barefoot College. Partnerships between Multilateral organisation,Government agencies, and private foundations with a common motive to serve poorand the community itself enable the solar programme to reach the ruralcommunities in developing countries. Inthe solar programme ITEC funds the training of the participants whereas theequipment cost incurred during the training process is borne by participantscommunities, the participants government , MDBs and international donors.Impact of theprogrammeWomen empowerment-basically in rural community women’s are confinedinside house restricting them to household activities but with such Barefootprogrammes women’s feltmore empowered and confident as solar engineers. Cross- cultural learningduring training help them to understand each other making them more confidentVillages “Go Green”-Utilizingsolar electrification reduces the use of kerosene, wood ,hence decreasing airpollution, fire and health hazards.
4020grams of harmful carbon emissions is already been avoided by replacing kerosenewith solar as a source of light, heat and cooking. (Barefoot College).Annual; Kersonenconsumption in villages across Mozambique fell by 27,375 litres snd firewoodconsumption fell by 91,250 metric tonnes .
(Lauren Remedious, 2013)Socio economic Impact- Communitycould save a lot on kerosene and battery Expenditure.For example- beneficiariesin Ghana have been able to save 76% in solar energy expenditure over kerosene. (Lauren Remedious, 2013) The work load and labour for women was reducedwho would otherwise walk miles to bring wood, hence could utilize time inproductive activities. Community caninvolve more in economic activities as day does not end with sunset.eg womencarry out handicrafts work which is a means of earning to them.
Replicable-14rural organization in fourteen different states of India are already usingBarefoot solutions to tackle community issues. They work independently but cometogether as a network named SAMPDA and work to innovate and develop methods toempower rural. Replication of training centres in Africa, Latin America hasalso been done. Together ,Solving the energy issuesalong with other major social issues by involving variouis partners and thecommunity itself in the process of change ,has led to a sustainable model for Barefoot College.Conclusion