After my latest blog post concerning microfinance and environmental sustainability, I was excited to read about the recent decision by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a US government development finance institution, to support clean energy initiatives around the world.
OPIC’s support came in the form of a $10 million loan to MicroEnergy Credits (MEC). With the loan, MEC will assist microfinance institutions in providing microloans to individuals for the purchase of clean energy products (e.g. solar lighting).
In a recent blog post, MEC described some of the positive aspects of these clean energy initiatives:
“Individuals who receive microloans to purchase clean energy not only benefit the planet; they benefit from improved health due to reduced indoor air pollution and increased savings from reduced expenditure on traditional fuels.”
MicroEnergy Credits primarily works to connect MFIs with carbon markets to offset initial costs of clean energy microloans. However, the organization also has a widespread impact on the microfinance industry as a whole. MEC founder and CEO, April Allderdice, recently worked with CFI on the Energy Links project and ‘Microfinance and Energy Poverty’ publication, a report on alleviating energy poverty.
OPIC’s loan is especially exciting because it exemplifies the US government’s attention to, not only microfinance in developing countries, but also renewable, affordable, and clean energy sources. I hope this will be part of an upward trend towards even more initiatives supporting responsible clean energy solutions in the US and around the world. Kudos OPIC and MEC!
Have you read?
Bloomberg Cites ‘Microfinance and Energy Poverty: Findings from the Energy Links Project’
CFI Releases Report on Microfinance and Energy Poverty
Artisanal Solar Lamps