Pollinate: bringing off-grid tech to the energy poor

Pollinate: bringing off-grid tech to the energy poor

Sep 8, 2017 - 3min read

For approximately 84% of the world’s population, electricity is a commodity that’s easy to take for granted. For the remaining 16% who have never had access to the grid, however, electricity is close to an unimaginable luxury.

“These products improve their health and safety as well as saving 15% of their income.”

India’s urban slums are home to a high concentration of homes without electricity, and it’s these communities that an innovative Australian social enterprise called Pollinate Energy seeks to help.

They have developed a unique distribution network that offers carefully selected clean-energy tech solutions for people living in energy poverty. And, importantly, they offer those technologies at a price that is affordable to those living on less than $2 a day.

pollinate energy products


Solar-powered lighting in the form of the Sun King Pro 2 and Sun King Home (items 1 and 3) provide an alternative to dangerous and unhealthy kerosene lamps that are predominantly used in these communities. Likewise, the Envirofit Cookstove (2) is a fuel-efficient cooker that produces 80% less particulate matter than a regular cooking stove.

The Sun King Wind Fan (4) is a solar-powered fan that helps prevent the spread of disease by protecting against mosquitos, while the LifeStraw (5) is a groundbreaking water filter that removes 99.9999% of bacteria to make almost any contaminated water drinkable.

“The Pollinators are best placed to identify potential beneficiaries of the products.”

The Nokia 130 (6) and the Infocus Smartphone (7) round out the offering with entry-level mobile phones that enable easy communication with family and facilitate job-hunting.

These life-changing products are delivered directly to the doors of those who need them most, by employing members of the local community who are referred to as “Pollinators”. These are entrepreneurially minded Indians from disadvantaged backgrounds who sell the clean-energy products directly to the public.

pollinate stats


Anne McGregor, Pollinates’s Australian International National Manager, says, “For India’s poor, Pollinate Energy is the missing link in the chain. We focus on long-lasting solutions – such as solar lights and water filters and through these products people are able to improve their health, safety, and quality of life and save 15% of their income. While the benefits for individuals are huge, there are also wins for the broader community and the environment.”

Pollinate Energy provides their Pollinators with all the tools they need to build their business: a transport allowance, a smartphone and access to the cloud-based salesforce system. The Pollinators are best placed to identify potential beneficiaries of the products, and they also liaise with “Worker Bees” – people who generate interest among the community, and earn a commission for each sale they help bring in.

So not only has Pollinate Energy found a way to bring reliable and affordable clean energy products into the homes of those living in energy poverty, but they’re doing it in a way that stimulates the economy at a grassroots level.