Pollinate Energy, an Australian start-up, was started five years ago by a team of young Australians who realised that families living in tents were burning toxic, dangerous and expensive kerosene. The social business based in Australia and India has a mission of bringing life-changing products to people who need them the most – families living in marginalised communities and struggling with energy poverty.
An estimated 700 million people in India still rely on solid fuels and traditional cookstoves for domestic cooking and a vast majority of them rely on kerosene for indoor lighting. These traditional technologies and practices cause household air pollution (AP) due to emission of harmful substances such as carbon monoxide. Exposure to these pollutants has a multitude of detrimental health impacts. Unfortunately, this population is usually uneducated on alternative energy efficient products that are affordable, cost effective and can improve their lives. Additionally, they have no access to finance to enable the purchase of clean energy cooking and lighting products.
Pollinate Energy brings life-changing products – such as solar lights and improved cookstoves, to families living in India’s urban slums, which allows them to access, understand, and afford household clean energy products. Pollinate Energy offers a range of products, including large solar home systems, water filters, solar fans, clean cookstoves, mobile phones and mosquito nets. The solar products are manufactured by the B-Corp certified organisation Greenlight Planet which owns manufacturing facilities in China, and some lights are assembled in East Africa and India. Many of Pollinate Energy’s other products are sourced from local Indian suppliers. In order to continue making the products accessible to families at the “bottom of the pyramid,” Pollinate Energy provides short-term cash payment plans, enabling a family to make a small down-payment on a new product and repay over weekly installments.
“Partnering with wPOWER is a great win for Pollinate, and the Partnership has shown leadership by supporting solutions like ours that aspire to be self-sustaining. Through our recent merger with Empower Generation we look forward to continuing to identify more opportunities to enable and empower women as leaders who we see as the key to solving the interconnected challenges of energy access and poverty. wPOWER is the right partnership to support us through this growth as we aspire to reach 1 million people by 2020.” Alexie Seller, CEO, Pollinate Energy
Pollinate Energy has trained and supported hundreds of local men and women, referred to as ‘Pollinators’, to sell and service the products in slum communities. This gives them new skills and allows Pollinate Energy to capture key information and data on how they are making a difference on the ground.
So far, Pollinate Energy has provided over 30,000 products impacting the lives of more than 135,000 people living in slums.
Since it was established in 2012, Pollinate Energy has firmly established its international credentials by;
– Winning the United Nations Momentum for Change Award
– Aligning itself with several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including the eradication of poverty, access to affordable, reliable modern energy services and supporting job creation and entrepreneurship.
In May of 2018, Pollinate Energy merged with Empower Generation to establish sales and distribution businesses that serve the most marginalized communities, delivering life-improving products and providing meaningful income to people living in poverty in India and Nepal. Read more on their merger here.
All images are credited to Marc Brugueras.