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Private Fundsí Initiatives
Multilateral Development Banks are not the only international sources of funding for renewable energy. A number of initiatives have been started to make private capital available for sustainable energy for developing countries.
Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF)
This US-based fund has provided grants and loans for solar home systems in 10 developing countries since its start in 1990. In Sri Lanka, it is working with the Sarvodaya Shramadan Movement. Since 1992, this collaboration has resulted in the installation of more than 500 systems. They were financed by revolving funds with seed money from SELF. In Bangor, India SELF has formed a Solar Electric Light Company.
Solar Century Initiative
This initiative, officially launched in June, 1997, aims to attract private capital to invest in renewable energy in industrialised and developing countries. It will work as a broker between solar investment proposals and investors, partly via organisation of Oxford Solar Investment Summits. Part of its brokerage fee will go to a Solar Century Global Community Fund, a revolving fund for investment assistance for those most in need, especially in the developing world.
'Green' Banks
Several ìgreen,î or environmentally ethical, banks and investment institutions have funds to finance renewable energy, sometimes in cooperation with community
financing institutes in developing countries.

- Solar Electric Light Fund, 1734 20th Street, NW Washington DC 20009,USA.
NL-11/NewsB.html .
- Solar Century Initiative, 32 St. Bernhard's Road, Oxford OX2 6EH, UK.
Role of NGOs
Financing small decentralised renewable energy systems requires to service a large number of small clients.
Typically, banks cannot afford these micro-enterprise lendings, because of the high transaction cost per client and low returns to the bank. Many banks overcome this
by charging high interest rates and/or bank charges. The World Bank Funds e.g., are normally channelled through a National Bank and then a Commercial Bank. The
Banks' charges and administration requirements add up and make the loan very expensive.
Here can come the role of the NGOs or credit cooperatives as intermediaries to lend the funds through.
Source: Financing Renewable Energy Projects by IT publications.
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Sustainable Energy News
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ISSUE #20 Sustainable Energy News (16 pages) (1998-02-01)
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