What Makes Energy Firms Succeed? WDI Partners With Miller Center to Find Out

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Freyr Energy solar plant in India, one of the companies included in the research. (Image courtesy of Freyr.)


WDI’s newly created Energy Initiative will examine the effectiveness of several enterprises in India that have been working to bring energy access to marginalized communities in the country for the past three years.

The project, in conjunction with Miller Center at Santa Clara University and New Ventures India, will look at 26 energy enterprises in India to identify what drives performance across different contexts, and develop a framework to inform strategies for energy enterprises that improve commercial viability and increase access to energy. WDI also will study the success of current investments in the energy sector in India, explore new ways to strengthen existing partnerships, and determine if any other gaps exist.

WDI’s Colm Fay will review existing data captured by the Energy Access India program, and conduct additional desk research and remote interviews with some of the participating enterprises and partners. Fay, who is leading WDI’s Energy Initiative, will travel to India in April for follow-up interviews with select enterprises and partners.

The findings from this work will be published in a research report aimed primarily at entrepreneurs who wish to launch and operate inclusive energy enterprises. The report will also provide insights for the ecosystem of clean energy investors and other organizations interested in better connecting energy enterprises with the right kinds of financial and non-financial support – and provide them with actionable recommendations.

“The findings from this research will help both enterprises and investors to better understand the opportunity for commercially viable energy business models in India, and contribute to a more integrated ecosystem of financial and non-financial support,” Fay said.


Ecozen Solutions, which has developed a solar powered cold storage system, is another company included in the research project. (Image courtesy of Ecozen Solutions)


The report is scheduled to be released in September to coincide with the end of the Energy Access India program, which began in 2015. The program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), provided acceleration services to the 26 energy enterprises in the country. The enterprises represent a range of technologies and business models, and have achieved varying levels of success in growth, impact, and financial sustainability.

“Miller Center sees itself as an open source learning laboratory, so sharing what we and our partners have learned through the Energy Access India project is important,” said Andrew Lieberman, senior director of New Programs at Miller Center. “Partnering with WDI for this paper elevates the end result in every way, because WDI brings their deep research capacity, unbiased perspective, and distribution reach.”

Miller Center manages a social enterprise accelerator, the Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI) with a mission to end global poverty and protect the environment.  Since 2003, GSBI has helped to accelerate over 819 social entrepreneurs, who have collectively raised over $580 million. New Ventures promotes clean technology innovation in Asia and Africa to serve the needs of the current and future generations in a sustainable manner.  


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