Coronavirus crisis threatens to cut off clean electricity lifeline for poor

(Reuters, 20 Apr 2020) Off-grid electricity providers fear customers who lose jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be unable to make payments, while broader financing dries up.

Companies that provide clean off-grid electricity to the poor in developing nations are searching for ways to stay afloat - and keep life-saving power on - through the coronavirus pandemic, as the economic fallout from the crisis empties customers' pockets.

The nascent industry fears being starved of new capital as investors shun risk amid an expected recession - a crunch that could force weak firms out of business and scupper progress on a global goal to provide modern energy to everyone by 2030.

In a survey by international organisation Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), 80 businesses running mini-grids and selling solar home systems in Africa and Asia said they expected to lose on average 27%-40% of their revenues in the coming months due to COVID-19 impacts.

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Reuters, 20 Apr 2020: Coronavirus crisis threatens to cut off clean electricity lifeline for poor