2016 Fire Awards Winner
Anna Lerner, World Bank Group

With over a billion people that lack access to electricity, traditional alternatives have fallen short in terms of both environmental performance and reach. Pay-As-You-Go” (PAYGo) businesses, which fit within the broader classification of distributed energy service (DESCO) companies have emerged as a model for distributed energy systems, particularly solar. PAYGo companies deploy various lease-to-own or direct pay-per-use business models. Using digital and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) platforms, PAYG companies are able to offer accessible and flexible payment plans to customers that typically do not have credit histories or bank accounts. PAYGo business models are capital intensive and require significant amounts of working capital to scale. While the PAYGo industry has raised over USD 300 million capital since 2012, commercial level capital is still needed to finance the increasing capital demands of the sector, one of the key barriers being the lack of understanding of this asset class by commercial investors.

Developing Harmonized Metrics for PAYG Solar is an initiative to unlock access to commercial finance at scale for PAYG solar by developing industry-wide key performance indicators (‘KPIs’) and standardized reporting and analytics.

Barriers Addressed

  • High risk perceptions amongst credit rating agencies and commercial investors
  • Unknown underlying performance of end-customer

The project will establish and roll-out company and industry level KPIs to help unlock commercial finance for PAYG solar. Harmonized KPIs will enable (1) companies to better understand and manage portfolio health and business model performance, (2) financiers to identify investment opportunities and increase transparency on perceived and actual portfolio risk, (3) sector stakeholder to share and make better use of data for advanced analytics, and (4) public actors to improve enabling policy environments.


BNEF On-Stage Pitch