SELCO makes solar-lighting accessible to poor families in India

SELCO India is a Bangalore‐based social enterprise that makes solar lighting technology accessible to economically impoverished people in India.

Dr. Harish Hande founded SELCO Solar Light Pvt. Ltd. (SELCO) in 1995 with Neville Williams with the philosophy that the sun supplies only a fraction of our energy needs, but when we link this energy with poverty, the economic condition of the poor can be improved substantially if they are made productive. SELCO focuses primarily on solar photovoltaic technology to provide electricity for lighting, water-pumping, communications, computing, entertainment, and small business appliances – an effort that has won SELCO innumerable recognitions and awards including the Ashden Award (2005, 2007), the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2007) and Financial Times Arcelor Mittal Boldness in Business Award in 2009.

SELCO has been able to reach out to over 120,000 families and build a committed skill force of over 170 employees in 25 energy service centres in Karnataka and Gujarat. This was only possible because the company’s business model revolves around building the necessary parts for a sustainable model for energy services delivery through its bottom-up approach. Another strong point of SELCO is its ability to innovate and continue devising novel energy solutions.

Every customer’s needs are looked up to and this is what makes SELCO’s products and solutions different from the rest in the market. Dr. Hande is indeed empowering his customers by providing a complete package of product, service and consumer financing at the customer’s door-step. SELCO is looking at scale through replication. SELCO believes that while it is possible to scale by standardization for a want, needs require customization based on the context. SELCO therefore is looking to scale the concept of SELCO and not necessarily the company SELCO.

Further information


Partnership types

Advocacy of global issues; Doing business with the poor; Project funding; Provision all (4)

Regions / countries / territories

Asia: India

Global issues

Energy; Environment and climate change

Business sectors