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Energy for Livelihoods: Centering low-income communities in the clean energy transition

Two women walk through a rural Indian road with solar panels in along side

As climate change accelerates, the world’s attention is focused on building a greener economy. Our latest report, Energy for Livelihoods, spotlights the social entrepreneurs in India using sustainable innovation to bridge energy access gaps.

  • Report
  • Energy
  • India
  • 2024

As the threats of climate change loom, the world’s attention is focused on clean energy. But beyond transitioning existing systems, a new generation of entrepreneurs is building a clean energy economy that centers rural communities living in poverty, using innovative technology and business models to fight both climate change and poverty. In India and beyond, this emerging Energy for Livelihoods sector promises to redefine what the clean energy transition means to the millions of people who still lack access to reliable, affordable energy. 

Energy for Livelihoods is a priority for Acumen, which invests in productive use of energy (PUE) companies through its PEII+ initiative and supports earlier-stage companies through mentorships and learning activities. In 2023, responding to the exciting pace of innovation and growth in the sector in India, Acumen partnered with Apple to organize the Energy for Livelihoods Accelerator program, delivered by Acumen Academy. 

Our latest report, Energy for Livelihoods: Centering low-income communities in the clean energy transition, chronicles the lessons learned from this cohort’s experience. The report uses these first-hand accounts as a foundation for a broader analysis of the sector’s opportunities and challenges and recommendations for supporting Energy for Livelihoods companies in meeting their potential. 

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