Indo-German Energy Programme - Access to Energy in Rural Areas (IGEN-Access)

Project description

Title: Indo-German Energy Programme - Access to Energy in Rural Areas (IGEN-Access)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: India
Lead executing agency: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE)
Overall term: 2015 to 2019


More than two-thirds of India’s 1.32 billion population lives in rural areas, with little or no access to modern energy services (World Population Prospects, 2017). Despite the Government of India’s best efforts to address this infrastructural needs over 239 million people still do not have access to electricity and over 830 million still depend on traditional fuels and practices for their cooking needs (World Energy Outlook, 2017).

Responding to the above situation, several renewable energy based rural enterprises stepped in with innovative solutions and business models. Several challenges within the off-grid ecosystem have been responsible for limiting the scaling up of business for enterprises. Low awareness levels among the target customers translate into limited demand for solutions provided by rural energy enterprises. Poorly developed supply chains further add to the challenges. The absence of a supportive ecosystem, a conducive policy and regulatory environment, easy access to enterprise and end user financing, access to a pool of skilled/qualified human resources etc. are also key barriers to the scaling up of these rural enterprises.


The Indo-German Energy Programme – Access to Energy in Rural Areas (IGEN-ACCESS) seeks to create a conducive environment for rural renewable energy enterprises in order to make energy services easily accessible to the rural population.


IGEN Access focuses on market development and supporting innovative business models to achieve sustainable energy access in rural areas. The programme builds upon three strategic pillars: Private sector development and innovation, access to finance and public support programmes. The interventions are concentrated around energy in agriculture, clean cooking energy, rural electrification and productive uses of energy.

Private Sector Development and Innovation: The focus lies on market and business development by suporting organisations such as sector associations, as well as incubation and training centres, to support early stage enterprises.

Access to Finance: The emphasis is on building capacities within public and private financial institutions to increase lending for rural energy solutions where traditional financing instruments have limited success. Special attention is placed on co-creation of sustainable financing instruments for enterprises and end-users.

Public Support Programmes: Support is provided to shape/design public support programmes in achieving sustainable energy security with off-grid renewables and clean cooking energy solutions. IGEN-Access is working with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and selected state departments.


The IGEN-Access project is expected to yield multiple benefits at different levels:

  • A minimum of 75 per cent of rural energy enterprises supported by IGEN-Access directly or indirectly, reported significant improvement of business conditions
  • IGEN-Access assisted in development and adoption of four national or state level programmes, guidelines or standards to support access to energy.
  • Two financial instruments tailored to the requirements of rural energy enterprises or households are introduced on a national or state level, benefiting 10,000 households.
  • Twenty rural energy enterprises, of which six are managed by women, are trained by programme partners and develop business plans, benefiting 25,000 households.

Access to energy will improve the quality of life of the rural population and will provide new opportunities for income-generation. Replacing traditional fuels with modern, clean and affordable energy under the project is benefiting women and children, in particular, as they are exposed to high levels of indoor pollution on a daily basis due to the use of biomass for cooking.

The above mentioned initiatives are important milestones in the programme journey towards facilitating easy access to energy in rural India.