Solar Energy is one of the best ways to bring energy to the disenfranchised poor in Africa and Asia which have no access to electricity and energy. Note Solar Panel prices have fallen by almost 90% in the last 4-5 years making solar energy much more accessible to the poor . Solar Panels can be now be bought at less than $200 which makes them affordable to large sections of the poor. They having stopped costing a ton in subsidy money given the low prices. Besides massive capacities exist in China and other places in Asia which can churn out solar panels in the hundreds of millions.
The Solar Products Business is booming not only from the Solar Power Plants but also in consumer products business. Sol not are big conglomerates like Mahindra, GMR , Reliance getting into the lucrative booming solar power in India, but now water purifier companies in India are too getting into the act. India’s biggest water purifying company Eureka Forbes which is found in almost every Indian home is going to start selling solar lighting products like torches and lanterns.
The rising income inequality throughout the world is sowing seeds of dystopia according to a report released by World Economic Forum. The biggest risk amongst the 50 risks listed is the increasing wealth gap between individuals in all countries. Gini’s coefficient has risen in most countries developing as well as developed and this has a strong correlation to globalization. The global artitrage of labor has tilted the scales towards capital and increasingly made wages become stagnant. Developing countries with weak institutions are showing income inequality in horrific forms with $2 billion homes existing in the middle of millions surviving on less than $2 day. US has already seen the OWS movement as a result of this increasing income gap between the have and have nots. Middle Eastern countries have also seen revolutions brought upon by the massive riches of the elite compared to the rising poverty of the poor and even the middle classes.
However distribution into the millions of villages remains the biggest hurdle even if the people there can afford the products.T here are no good roads and the smaller solar companies lack the marketing muscle of say a big MNC like Hindustan Lever and ITC.People have tried to sell solar products using the microfinance companies but have not had much success as of now.India’s government has also pushed some small subsidy schemes but the red tape and the off and on nature has meant failure.
The Indian Private Equity Industry was on a high for the past few years with a new PE fund being opened every few months by PE veterans.The global interest in the Indian economy had been very high given the growth potential.There was a lot of money waiting on the sidelines to take part in the Indian growth story.Most of the PE performance till then had been very good given a rising tide lifts all boats.However the recent year has not been that good.More than one PE manager has had to shutdown given the lack of funding while others have found it difficult to exit given the bad stock market conditions.
Income Inequality is a Theme that is getting played across the world in developing as well as developed nations.Most of the turmoil in 2011 in the Middle East and the Occupy Wall Street Movement can be attributed to the growing Income Gap between the Have and Have -Nots.The Great Recession in 2008 can also be looked upon as a fallout of this.Gini’s Coefficient which measures the income distribution gap has shown continued deterioration all over the world.The Middle Class is shrinking and growing poor by the day and it is not only the Poor Class that is getting affected.